Sen. Witkos Says it's a “Fifty-50” day at the Capitol for Water Customers

April 30, 2009

Claims water companies sending differing messages

One day after the Connecticut State Senate passed a bill that would require ratepayers of the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) to pay more to fund a water exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center, State Senator Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, pointed out the irony that the Connecticut Water Company (CWC) will be reducing rates for their customers. In a statement released by the Connecticut Water Company today, the company says it has filed an application with Connecticut’s Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) for permission to reduce customers’ water bill for the last six months of 2009.

“People are looking for financial relief any way they can get it. On the one hand MDC ratepayers will be paying a little bit more while customers of Connecticut Water will be paying less. I guess we can consider this to be a ‘50-50’ proposition for residents who use water in Connecticut,” said Sen. Witkos. “While I understand the important function the Science Center will serve, to ask ratepayers to contribute to a water exhibit for the next ten years is a lot to ask, especially at a time when many families are struggling.”

Sen. Witkos said SB 831, which he opposed, would allow the MDC to spend $150,000 per year for no more than ten years to develop and maintain an exhibit at the new science center in Hartford. Money for this endeavor will come directly from MDC rate payers, which drew the ire of several senators, including Sen. Witkos. Last week, MDC customers were forced to boil water when micro-organisms were discovered in the drinking water supply in the Greater Hartford area for customers served by the MDC, the region’s largest water supplier.

“Instead of funding this exhibit, MDC customers should be getting a break,” said Sen. Witkos. “I applaud the Connecticut Water Company for their efforts to reduce costs and recognize the challenges that people are facing.” According to the CWC, the proposal to temporarily credit bills and delay the next rate case filing is based on adjusting certain depreciation rates and passing along the expense reduction to customers.

“It’s ironic that CWC is making this announcement today because it highlights the fact that the bill the Senate passed last night isn’t going to do anything to help relive the costs of MDC ratepayers. That’s unfortunate,” said Sen. Witkos.