Governor Ned Lamont and Attorney General William Tong today announced an agreement between the State of Connecticut and Eversource to increase local accountability and control and return $103.4 million back to Connecticut families following significant deficiencies in the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The agreement also stabilizes electric distribution rates until at least January 2024.
The agreement directs $65 million in Eversource funds to be immediately returned to customers in the form of two credits on their December and January bills. The average customer will see a $35 total credit. Eversource further has agreed not to appeal a $28.4 million penalty levied by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) due to the inadequate response to Isaias. Ratepayers are currently seeing this as a credit on their bills under “TS Isaias Performance Penalty.” Eversource has agreed not to apply for a rate increase until at least January 2023, for rates that could not take place until at least January 2024.
The remaining $10 million will be used to assist customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bills. All customers are currently eligible to participate in a 24-month payment plan – without fees or interest – to pay down any arrearage they have and to avoid any service disconnection. Residents are encouraged to contact Eversource at 800-286-2828 or visit www.eversource.com/billhelp to access assistance.
The agreement will require Eversource to create a new Connecticut-based president of Connecticut Light & Power to improve local accountability and control and to add new seats to its governance board for representatives from Connecticut. Eversource will also commit to continuing and enhancing its Connecticut-based training and apprenticeship programs to ensure statewide access to line worker career opportunities and adequate staffing of line workers in Connecticut.
“Our focus in this process has been on accountability to the ratepayers of Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said. “With this settlement, ratepayers get some well-deserved relief in the short-term, and in the long-term they get more security that something like this won’t happen again. The reforms to CL&P required in this settlement will provide greater local control and oversight of the local utility, and an improved consumer experience for ratepayers.”
“Eversource failed its Connecticut customers and put families at risk after Tropical Storm Isaias. That cannot happen again,” Attorney General Tong said. “This agreement forces significant governance changes at Eversource to bring much needed local control and oversight. This plan immediately directs $103.4 million back to ratepayers and provides long-term rate stability for Eversource customers, including $10 million to assist families with their bills. This is a powerful agreement, but Eversource still has a lot of work ahead to earn back Connecticut’s trust. I will be watching carefully to ensure every term of this agreement is honored, and that Connecticut families finally receive the safe and reliable service they deserve.”
“This settlement offers a way to accomplish meaningful governance reforms and ratepayer relief to ensure that Eversource is accountable and responsive to Connecticut customers,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said.
“We are pleased that we were able to settle these cases and bring Eversource ratepayers some needed rate relief around the winter holidays,” Connecticut’s Acting Consumer Counsel Richard E. Sobolewski said. “The organizational and corporate governance changes in this agreement should bring some added local control to CL&P electric operations.”
The agreement between Eversource, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Office of Consumer Counsel settles Phase IIa (Interim Rate Decrease) of PURA Docket No. 17-12-03RE11 and the implementation of a storm penalty imposed by PURA following Tropical Storm Isaias. The settlement was submitted today to PURA for review and approval.