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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Gentile Says "No Way" to Rate Hike

United Illuminating is requesting yet another rate increase.  If approved, your monthly electric bill will increase by about 5% beginning in January 2017.  I say, “No way!”  I am an electric consumer just like you and I am very angry with UI.  Let me explain why. 
 
UI says it needs to boost rates to help offset $92 million spent in 2014 and 2015 to upgrade and strengthen its infrastructure.  The company says these improvements were necessary to ensure that electricity stays on during, and after, powerful storms.  While I understand that UI spent a considerable amount to upgrade and protect its delivery system, why should you and I have to pay for it?  Isn’t that the cost of doing business?
 
This request for increased rates is just plain wrong! The company is seeking a 3 year rate hike beginning in 2017.  In 2018 it will look for another 5% increase and yet another 5% in 2019.  First and foremost, we are already paying too much for electricity.  Connecticut consumers pay among the highest rates in the nation. So, when it’s all said and done you would be paying, on average, about $360 more per year in 2019.  This is outrageous and unacceptable!
 
Furthermore, this increased utility cost will harm our fragile economy.  While the Connecticut economy has certainly been picking up recently, forcing us to pay more for our lights, air conditioning and other electrical needs gives consumers less money to spend on other goods and services, causing additional hardship on our local economy.  It is just one more straw to break the camel’s back.  We are still trying to recover from the Great Recession and higher prices for electricity will hurt working families, forcing them to cut costs elsewhere just to make ends meet. 
 
The Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) must stop this madness. At a time when energy costs are trending downward, it is inconceivable that UI would ask for increased rates.  Although there has been increases in the cost of distribution, it is my belief that the company should be promoting new grid technologies that would not only benefit consumers, but would also be good for the environment.  Instead of a rate increase, UI should be focused on reducing their rates in accordance with a law that the legislature passed in 2015 that required UI’s fixed charges be reduced to less than $8.
 
I am asking that you add your voice to mine in opposition to higher energy bills.  Tell the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority that enough is enough!  We don’t want to pay more for our already costly electricity.  PURA has two public hearings on the UI rate increase request.  The first is September 8th at 6:30 p.m., at Bridgeport City Hall in Bridgeport, followed on September 12th at 6:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Mitchell Hall of Records in New Haven.  Additional public hearings will be held during the month of September at the PURA offices at Ten Franklin Square, New Britain.
 
We need to send a clear message to regulators, and United Illuminating, that we do not want to pay exorbitant prices for electricity.  It is immoral!
 
(This is a press release from Gentile)
 
 

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