Energy and Technology Committee Leadership & Attorney General Tong Reinforce Support for Strong Oversight of Utilities

August 23, 2023

August 22, 2023

Media Contact:
Hannah Lemek
[email protected]

Energy and Technology Committee Leadership & Attorney General Tong Reinforce Support for Strong Oversight of Utilities

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-Greenwich), Chairman Norm Needleman (D-Essex), Chairman Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport), and Attorney General William Tong express support of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) oversight process as utilities plead for rate increases.

Senator Fazio said, “We need a balanced regulatory environment in Connecticut to better protect consumers. Independent reviews and ratings of the level of customer service of utilities in Connecticut have consistently fallen short of satisfactory and fall far below the average of the country. I believe that strong regulatory oversight is necessary to rectify that.”

A strong objection came from The United Illuminating Co. (UI) after a draft decision issued by PURA commissioners on July 21 approved a distribution rate increase that was a fraction of their initial request.

“Even after the passage of new regulations in recent years, utility companies continue to see record profits and executive pay has remained in the millions of dollars,” said Sen. Needleman. “I’m more focused on the needs of their customers struggling to make ends meet and facing exorbitant utility bills, some of the highest in the country, without receiving the performance level they deserve.”

“The utilities will have to adjust to the new performance-based compensation paradigm. They should respect the process and not seek to undermine it. There’s plenty of profit to be made by investing in our state’s energy future.  Let’s not get distracted by this ill-advised public campaign.” said Rep. Steinberg.

After a hearing on Friday, the utility company protested the state regulators’ handling of a requested distribution rate increase and raised concerns about preventing investment. Senator Fazio is arguing that there needs to be a balance between investment and protecting consumers from raising rates.

“I also believe that it’s essential in order to ensure investors get a fair rate of return and be encouraged to invest in Connecticut, hardening its grid, improving service, and ensuring reliability for consumers,” Sen. Fazio added.

A final decision by PURA is due by Friday, August 25, 2023.