HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A settlement to lower the electric rates of United Illuminating customers has been amended.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the amendment on Friday.
Tong said the agreement will provide millions of dollars in immediate savings and long-term stability for UI customers. In conjunction with a planned start of lower summer standard service rates, UI customers would see a 5.2 percent total bill decrease starting on July 1. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority on Thursday preliminarily accepted the amended settlement, opening the door for parties to re-execute and file an amended settlement agreement, and for PURA to issue a final decision on the amended settlement on June 23.
“This amended agreement will result in immediate savings and long-term rate stability for Connecticut families just in time for summer air conditioning bills," Tong said. "I appreciate PURA’s diligence on behalf of ratepayers, and their willingness to consider this amended settlement. Connecticut families have paid far too much for their energy for far too long, and we all need this break,” said Attorney General Tong.
Connecticut's governor and attorney general announced an agreement with power company United Illuminating that's aimed to stabilize electric rates for at least two years.
In March, Tong and Gov. Lamont said they brokered an agreement with UI, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Office of Consumer Counsel and PURA’s Office of Education, Outreach and Enforcement to decrease and stabilize electric rates into 2023. The agreement fully offsets what would have been a 5 to 8 percent increase in bills on May 1 due to federally-mandated transmission charges and the costs of the Millstone power purchase agreement.
The settlement includes a $5 million voluntary contribution from UI’s own coffers, and also accelerates the return of $41.55 million of accumulated savings from federal tax cuts ahead of what would have otherwise been required. In addition, UI agreed to not change base distribution rates until at least May 2023—an agreement that will save ratepayers a projected $20 million above and beyond the $46.5 million relief from the accumulated tax savings and UI’s voluntary contribution.
PURA initially rejected the settlement, and instead proposed an alternative plan to amortize the accumulated charges over a 68-month period. At the urging of Tong and other settling parties, PURA reconsidered its draft decision, agreeing to revisit the merits of the settlement and allowing settling parties to continue to negotiate.
Tong, UI and the settling parties agreed to an amended settlement that would immediately decrease base distribution rates an additional 0.2 percent effective July 1 to reflect reductions in the federal corporate tax rate, a key priority for PURA in its draft decision.
“This draft decision is the result of multiple parties coming together to bring rate relief and stability to UI’s customers for years to come,” said Frank Reynolds, UI president and CEO. “We appreciate PURA’s determination to improve on the original proposal, and we’re thankful for the continued support from Attorney General Tong, the Lamont Administration and the other settling parties for joining this effort to deliver real benefits to UI customers.”