PURA Schedules Public Hearing to Question Eversource on Rates

On Aug 4th Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled Greenwich, leaving about 23% of residents without power. Tensions have run high given that the outage had the backdrop of both the pandemic and a heatwave.

After seven days 10% of Greenwich customers remained without power.

After a week 10% remained without power in Greenwich.

On the eighth day, Tuesday, Aug 11, about 1% of Greenwich residents were without power.

The state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has scheduled a public hearing via Zoom for Monday, August 24, at 10:00am.

The hearing is in response to PURA’s recent approval of Eversource’s request to increase its delivery rate.

In an email blast to constituents on Tuesday State Rep Livvy Floren said expressed gratitude to Eversource’s hardworking employees who spent countless hours repairing the lines and restoring power to hundreds of thousands of residents.

As for rates, she noted that between work-from-home orders and hot summer weather, electric bills were bound to be higher than usual.

However, she said, “Raising rates on top of all this was not the right thing to do.”

State Rep Steve Meskers, who sits on the Energy and Technology committee, which has oversight over the public utilities, said Eversource’s performance has been dreadful in the crisis. “They have a lot to answer for in their preparedness for the storm,” he said.

Governor Lamont has criticized Eversource’s response, saying they should have planned for the storm better and had crews on the ground ready to go.

In an interview on News 3, Lamont noted Eversource has had 4 CEO’s since 2011, the year Tropical Storm Irene hit in August and a freak snowstorm hit on Oct 29.

“I think our whole regulatory scheme is bit of a mess. It’s called rate of return. You get 9.25% rate of return whether you do a good job or a bad job, and that makes no sense at all….They have a natural monopoly. They’ve got no competition.”

“We’re going to change the way we regulate. I will reward good performance but penalize bad performance and make sure our incentives are aligned, so next time people are three or four days without power, Eversource pays a price,” Lamont added.

Senator Blumenthal called on the CEO of Eversource James Judge to resign.

During the Aug 24 hearing, PURA officials will question Eversource representatives to determine whether or not the electric distribution company had been over-collecting revenues in the short term at the expense of their customers.

Public officials will be allowed to speak at the beginning of the hearing followed by the evidentiary portion of the proceedings.

Members of the public will be allowed to speak at the end.

Customers can also submit testimony to PURA by email at [email protected].

To register for the meeting, click here.

Meeting ID# 927 7463 1605

The hearing will also be streamed on Connecticut Network (CT-N).

Although many of us have been frustrated with Eversource these past few weeks, xhey perform a dangerous, but essential job, and I am grateful for their help.

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