Below is a statement by AARP Connecticut Advocacy Director, John Erlingheuser, on the recent CL&P rate request decision by Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA):
“Today’s decision by PURA to slash CL&P’s rate request is both good news and bad news for Connecticut ratepayers. The good news is that PURA listened to the complaints of consumer advocates and thousands of ratepayers in their decision to slash CL&P’s unreasonable rate request by about $90 million, and penalize the company for its poor storm response in 2011. AARP fought hard on behalf of ratepayers and helped drive more that 800 emails and letters from members into the offices of PURA to protest the increase. Despite this significant reduction, we believe any increase in CL&P’s fixed customer service charge is unfair and bad for ratepayers, especially seniors and lower-income individuals and families who already pay a disproportionate share of their earnings for utilities.
“CL&P’s customer service rate is already the highest in the region, and one of the highest in the nation. Allowing any increase, no matter how small, is simply unwarranted and will have a detrimental impact on people already struggling to pay their bills this winter. The increase is also a disincentive to conserve energy, since customer’s bills will go up before they turn on a single light.
“While we are disappointed that the cuts to the original request did not go further, our sincere appreciation goes out to the thousands of AARP members and residents who raised their voices, as well as Elin Katz and the staff of the Office of Consumer Counsel, and the Attorney General’s Office, for their diligent work on behalf of ratepayers which helped secure this significant reduction. We look forward to our continued work with them and other consumer advocates to protect the interests of ratepayers and ensure fair and reasonable utility rates in Connecticut.”