Uh… about time? Where were you guys last year and the year before that? Well, better late than never because our lawmakers finally stood up to Eversource. You know, like they’re supposed to?
Anyways, WFSB reports that even Senator Richard Blumenthal put his foot down. He vehemently opposes the company’s proposed 15.8 percent hike for their natural gas.
If approved by PURA (who already have the proposal,) it would cost residents an extra $49 million. In the first year alone. Yeah, the hike will come in over the next 3 years.
Blumenthal lambasted the rate hike:
“Connecticut consumers are living with a slower growing economy and already sky high natural gas rates, more than 20 percent higher than the national average and higher than 41 states. Simply, Connecticut consumers cannot afford spending $49 million more for natural gas next year on top of any additional increases in overall rates which may occur.”
Remember, back when Blumenthal served as Attorney General, he brought all those rate increases to a heel? Yeah, despite what people think of him now, he did scrutinize every rate increase.
While people may not like him as a senator, he did a bang-up job keeping CT affordable as AG. Like what he did in 2009 when a utility service grossly overcharged consumers in the summer.
So, for this guy to step away from his role as a senator to remark on this says something. It says something is wrong with both the utility and the authority for ushering along these egregious rate hikes.
Simply put, we already pay too much. We know that because we live it every day in this state.
We pay 20 percent more for our natural gas than the national average. Blumenthal so helpfully dropped that little fact-nugget in his open letter of opposition.
Not to mention, our personal income levels stagnated last year so paying for rate hikes will only hurt and not help us. Although CT somehow upholds its “richest state” reputation, we know that’s emphatically untrue.
If our incomes continue to remain flat while the cost of living continues to rise… well, more of us will require federal assistance to get by. That, or, we cut into other budgets, like our grocery fund so we can keep the lights on.
Tom Swan, director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, also chimed in about why the 15 percent rate hike is disgusting:
“The public policy behind the rate request is wrong for ratepayers and wrong for the company over the longer term.”
The utility claims that the natural gas rate hike will help pay for their “natural gas distribution system.” They also say the extra $$$ from us will allow them to “provide our customers top-tier reliability.”
Cue the collective eye roll. Right. Would anyone from Ansonia like to speak up about how Eversource “improved” your natural gas lines while utterly demolishing your roads?
So, if the company skimped on repairs even though back then they delighted in rate hikes, where is the money going? Oh, the CEO?
Looks like someone needs to buy a new private jet, I suppose. The dude made $19 million in 2014 so, I dunno guys. Something doesn’t sit right with me.
Luckily, Blumenthal also feels a disturbance in the Eversource force. He once again reminded the utility that CT ratepayers pay the tenth highest natural gas rates in the nation.
He also chided the company for conveniently forgetting the new tax code ushered in by President Trump:
“Eversource has reaped millions in federal tax breaks and has no justifiable reason for yet another sweeping rate hike.”
He believes any tax break completely offsets the company’s need for a rate hike.
Also, on a smaller note, other natural gas providers asked for much smaller increases. In fact, they asked for under a third of what Eversource demands.
Either way, why the largest utility provider, whose customer base only grew by 9 percent since 2011 wants these outrageous hikes should infuriate you.
Not to mention what the increase will possibly do to your delivery charge. You know, the hidden charge that makes up roughly 70 to 80 percent of your overall bill?
Yeah, imagine that. Check that bad boy out if you have yet to know what a “delivery charge” is.
Anyways, that’s why absolutely no one was surprised when Eversource and UI ranked among the WORST utility providers in the nation.
How can such a small state with one of the smaller populations cough up so much cash to use electricity and gas? Well, these companies clearly know something Blumenthal doesn’t, otherwise he wouldn’t have made such a big stink.
Also, why isn’t our current AG saying anything about this? Blumenthal would have dragged Eversouce to court by now over this.
George Christian Jepsen, the people need you, like, nowish.
Here’s hoping other lawmakers jump on this ship and stand up for their constituents. We already live in the most expensive state in the nation, let’s not make it the most impossible state to live in while we’re at it.
So, what do you make of this? Do you support these rate increases or should our utilities look into making their rates more affordable?
Also, should our lawmakers come clean if Eversource donated to their campaigns? Then at least we’d know whose silence was bought.
Oh, wait, I found that out for you. Looks like Chris Murphy, our other senator, won’t make a peep because Eversource contributed $74k to his campaign. Don’t expect Joe Courtney to say anything, either.
Should we make it illegal for utilities to contribute to political campaigns? What are your thoughts?