Shocking Energy Bills Spur Probes Into Connecticut Utility Rates

Some Eversource customers in Connecticut say their energy bills have more than doubled, as they’ve been running home air conditioning non-stop during quarantine. Now, state regulators have rolled back electric rates and launched an investigation. 

State lawmakers said residents are “at their financial limits” due to the pandemic.

They asked the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to review utility rates as families struggle to pay energy bills.

The power company Eversource increased some of its rates July 1st to meet a federal mandate and help pay for maintenance of the aging Millstone Nuclear Power Plant. Now PURA asks the company to go back to the rates offered in June, while it reviews the way customers took on new costs.

PURA said it will lead an investigation into whether customers are being overcharged. Public hearings will be scheduled in August. 

A spokesperson for Eversource told Hearst Connecticut Media they understand and appreciate lawmaker’s efforts to address high utility bills. Eversource and Avingrid will consider payment deferrals for customers.

Eversource announced it will offer payment support solutions to its customers including a no-fee, no-interest COVID-19 payment plan.

Utility companies recommend that those with concerns about their bill should contact customer service to see what payment options might be available.

They also suggest raising the thermostat by a few degrees and unplugging some devices.

Connecticut House leaders have asked a state energy committee to schedule a hearing to probe why utility customers are seeing higher electric bills than normal this month.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut also wants answers. “I believe that we need to look at the fundamental reason why Eversource is asking for an absolutely unacceptable gargantuan rate increase at a time when Connecticut consumers are struggling,” he said. 

Blumenthal and Connecticut Attorney General William Tong have sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to urge the agency to rescind bundled transmission charges — and to rebate consumers for a minimum of one year.

“For years, Connecticut has been plagued with some of the highest energy costs in the nation, prohibiting local families and businesses from sustaining their energy contracts," they said