July 10, 2008
UI Requests Hearing for Rate Increase
By Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register, Conn.
Jul. 10--NEW HAVEN -- Several days after state regulators rejected a request by The United Illuminating Co. to reopen a 2006 rate case that may have resulted in further rate increases for customers, the utility has given notice that it will seek to open a new case.UI officials filed a letter of intent with the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control Wednesday announcing that they will request a new rate hearing.
Under the rate increase, residential customers who use 700 kilowatt-hours per month would pay an additional $6 per month, said Al Carbone, a company spokesman. That amounts to a 2.6 increase on the current $145 that customers using that amount of power pay, Carbone said.
UI now has 30 to 60 days to
submit its complete rate filing, after which the regulatory agency will set a hearing schedule, Carbone said. Company officials don't expect the DPUC to rule on the case until January at the earliest, he said.
James P. Torgerson, chief executive officer and president of UI's parent company, UIL Holdings, said the utility has made every effort to forestall another rate increase.
"However, due to higher uncollectible expenses, lower sales and increased required capital projects to meet our public service obligations, UI must now seek to increase rates," he said in a statement.
UI sought in May to reopen a 2006 rate case and broker a settlement with commercial and residential ratepayers, a move that Carbone said was designed to make rate increases over the next two years "more manageable."
But the DPUC rejected UI's
settlement proposal Monday, contending that the utility was only negotiating with large industrial customers.
C a r b o n e , i n response, said the DPUC acted upon the utility's attempts to reach a settlement before company officials were ready to present it to regulators.
UI had hoped to modify the DPUC-approved 2006 agreement that put distribution rates in place for a fouryear period, from 2006 to 2009. The company cited declining electricity sales, along with a growing number of uncollected customer bills, in its quest to have the case reopened.
UI serves more than 323,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the New Haven and Bridgeport areas.
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