State of Connecticut Enters Into Settlement Agreement With Eversource

This article was published on: 01/25/18 6:11 PM by Mike Minarsky

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz announces a settlement agreement that will substantially reduce the rate increase previously requested by Eversource Energy.

(New Britain) – Last fall, on November 22, 2017, Eversource Energy filed a Rate Application with the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (“PURA”).  At that time, Eversource had proposed an increase above its current distribution rates to be spread across a three-year period.  The total that Eversource had originally proposed was $336.9 million over three years.  This would have amounted to $255.8 million ( or a 6.57% increase) in the first year, $44.7 million ( or a 1.27% increase) in the second year, and $36.4 million ( or an increase of 0.98%) in the third year.

According to the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), Eversource’s Rate Application “reflects approximately $700 million of recent investments to improve the reliability and safety of the electric distribution system that are not accounted for in current rates”.  The OCC stated that the $700 million in investments were verified by both the OCC and the Prosecutorial Staff of Pura, and that, “some level of rate increase is necessary”.

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz stated, “Whenever there is an application for a rate hike, many consumers immediately worry, ‘what is this going to cost me’?  We have worked very hard to reduce the bill impacts.  This Settlement Agreement achieves an overall reduction of $182.4 million from Eversource’s requested three-year rate plan, including an over 60% reduction to Eversource’s rate year one request, while still enabling Eversource to continue to provide safe and reliable service to its customers.”  She added, “While no increase is welcome news, we believe that we have limited the requested rate increase as much as possible”.

The Settlement Agreement establishes a reduction from the amount that Eversource had originally proposed.  Eversource agreed to a total increase of $154.5 million versus the $336.9 million over a three-year period that it had first sought.  The $154.5 million breaks down to an increase of $97.1 million (a 2.4% increase) in the first year, $32.7 million (a 0.81% increase) in the second year, and $24.7 million (a 0.61% increase) in the third year.  Ms. Swanson Katz noted that the Settlement Agreement reflects, “a portion of the estimated reduction to the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% resulting from the recent federal tax law change” ; that is, per the recent Tax Cuts And Jobs Act of 2017 that was signed into law on December 22, 2017 by President Trump.

A spokeswoman for Eversource, Ms. Tricia T. Modifica, explained that PURA will next undertake a review of the settlement and their draft decision should be completed by the end of March; with PURA’s decision becoming finalized by mid-late April.  If the Settlement Agreement is approved, the new rates will be effective as of May 1, 2018.

Eversource customers who would like to comment on this three year rate plan may send a written letter to:  Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Ten Franklin Square, New Britain CT 06051, or send an email to pura.executivesecretary@ct.gov.  Use Docket No. 17-10-46 when corresponding about this matter.

 

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