Hearing to question Eversource electricity rate increase in Connecticut

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut regulators are set to hold a hearing to review a recent Eversource electricity rate increase that caught many customers by surprise.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, has scheduled the hearing for Monday on the fee increases that took effect July 1, but were temporarily suspended by the authority on July 31 amid complaints from customers and state lawmakers.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said he will be testifying to urge PURA to take several actions including rolling back the fee increases, considering breaking up Eversource and creating a state-based utility, eliminating guaranteed profits for the company and linking rates to performance.

Eversource, the state’s largest electricity distributor, and United Illuminating also are facing criticism for their responses to Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Connecticut on Aug. 4 and left some in the dark for more than a week.

PURA had approved the July 1 fee increases. But customers have flooded the agency with complaints, with some saying their bills have doubled to more than $300 a month and others saying their bills are hundreds of dollars higher.

Eversource officials have noted that PURA approved the fee increases. The utility also said contributors to higher bills included increased electricity usage in July because of hot weather and a state mandate requiring Eversource to buy electricity from the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford.

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