HARTFORD, Conn. —
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong continued his opposition Monday to Connecticut Water Company’s $20 million rate hike request.
Connecticut Water’s requested rate hike would increase water rates by 20%, which would affect over 360,000 customers across 60 towns.
PURA’s draft decision increases rates by 0.74% instead. Tong said that he thinks that's still too high.
“Connecticut consumers have shouldered the burden of relentless rate increases over the past eight years. We pay way too much for utilities and I thank PURA for digging deep to find savings for Connecticut families and consumers who cannot absorb further increases to their cost of living,” Attorney General Tong said in a statement.
Attorney General Tong filed a brief in May where he noted various unnecessary and excessive costs that could be removed or reduced to eliminate the need for any rate increase. These included directors and officers liability insurance, fees and dues, bad debt calculations, lobbying costs and incentive compensation.
The brief alleged that Connecticut Water is seeking an unjustifiable 10.4% return on equity for its shareholder, which the Attorney General noted is higher than any other regulated utility statewide.
PURA’s draft decision reduced that profit to be in the similar 9% range as other regulated utilities. This change will save ratepayers almost $6 million.
Additionally, Attorney General Tong’s brief opposed use of ratepayer funds for executive bonuses, lobbying costs, consultant fees, and other costs traditionally partially or fully covered by shareholder funds.
The brief also identified rate base, expense and revenue that would save ratepayers millions of dollars, among other suggestions. Attorney General Tong’s adjustments would reduce Connecticut Water’s proposed revenue requirement by over $18 million per year, making a significant dent in their proposed $20 million rate increase.
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