Boucher launches petition to oppose electric rate hike

Wiltonians opposed to CL&P’s request for a rate increase can sound off on state Sen. Toni Boucher’s website, senatorBoucher.com. Ms. Boucher has also posted an online petition at senatorboucher.com, which she will deliver to state electricity regulators.

“The message we are sending is clear. We cannot afford higher electricity rates,” Ms. Boucher said in a press release.

CL&P filed on Nov. 10 for an increase in its standard service rate that would become effective on Jan. 1. The rate would jump from the current average of 9.96 cents per kilowatt-hour to 12.45 cents. The utility said it asked for the increase because of a dramatic increase in the price of electricity it purchases on behalf of customers.

This supply price is separate from CL&P’s delivery rates, which the utility is also seeking to raise by more than 20%. Any increase to the standard service rate must be approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

Ms. Boucher said the rate hike could cost the average ratepayer an extra $150 a year.

“Unfortunately, senior citizens and those on fixed incomes will be hit hard,” Ms. Boucher said. “Many lawmakers have been joining with constituents in asking the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency to consider the hardships this will create when they make their decision.

“I am asking regulators to reject this request for a rate hike,” she added. “There is no way that our seniors, our working families, and our most vulnerable citizens can afford $150 more a year.”

As a regulated delivery company in Connecticut, CL&P purchases electricity from suppliers and passes the cost, with no profit added, directly to customers who are on the company’s standard service supply option. By law, the standard service price for residential and small commercial customers changes twice a year, on Jan. 1 and July 1. Customers who purchase their electricity through aggregate buyers or directly from suppliers would contact those companies for information about any anticipated increases in their rates.

More than half of New England’s electricity is now produced using natural gas, the company said, and regional pipeline limitations combined with the growing demand are pushing prices higher.

Ms. Boucher emphasized that consumers have a choice in their electric supplier. A list of suppliers and their rates may be found at energizect.com. Consumers may also call 1-877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873) for assistance in picking a supplier.

CL&P urges customers to do their part to lower usage, including turning down the thermostat, caulking drafty doors and windows, making sure heating vents aren’t blocked, and switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs.

The state’s Home Energy Solutions-Core Services program gives people an opportunity to get an  energy checkup  for their home.

“I did this in my home and found it to be extremely helpful in fixing the spots where I was losing money and energy,” Ms. Boucher said.

For $99, a local expert will come to your home to examine where you might be losing energy and subsequently losing dollars. All residential customers are eligible for the program.

For information, visit energizect.com or call the number listed above.