Legislators Accept PURA-Proposed Fine
More good news are coming to CT’s electricity ratepayers. CT electricity consumers can expect small discounts in their upcoming electricity bills. These discounts come when CT consumers get utility bill credits this month. The credits are due to PURA fining both Eversource and UI for last year’s power outages.
Causes for Fine against Utilities
Last year, Tropical Storm Isaias left over 675,000 people without power. It was one of the largest outage events in CT’s history. Problems came up that delayed grid restoration. For example, Eversource’s automated outage reporting systems had technical difficulties. The New York Times reported that tens of thousands were still without power after a week. The power failure even forced a waste treatment plant to shut down.
Keep in mind that CT was dealing with a heat wave. Think about the effects of high heat. Lots of homes were without cooling. In addition, food and medication spoiled. Let’s not forget the effects on the sick and elderly.
This led to PURA’s investigation into Eversource and UI. The purpose was to determine if the utilities met CT’s performance standards. Remember that standards included timely emergency response and accurate accident reporting.
The 8-month investigation showed how both utilities failed their customers. For example, PURA found that Eversource failed to keep consumers informed and did not readily keep roads clear of dangers. PURA also discovered that UI did not report accidental damages. In short, both Eversource and UI failed to provide reliable service to their customers.
PURA assessed the damages and then fined Eversource $30 million in civil penalties. Regulators then hit UI with a $2.1 million fine. In addition, the penalty ruling reduced Eversource and UI’s return on equity.
Consider Reasons for Fine
Attorney General Tong discussed the fine in a press release. The press release called the penalty, “…a strong first step to hold Eversource accountable for their disastrous performance.”
Keep in mind CT law limits fines to a $30 million maximum. According to CTInsider, if state law hadn’t capped the fine, PURA would have assessed a $98.4 million penalty against Eversource.
How are CT Consumers Affected?
PURA directed that a large part of the fines will be used as credits on consumer billing. Eversource will issue $28.4 million in credits. While UI will issue $1.2 million in credits.
Credits will appear as line items on electricity bills from August 1 to July 31, 2022. Credit amounts are based on monthly energy usage. As a result, Eversource customers can expect about $1.50 in credits while UI customers will see $0.50.
CT consumers can also expect more outage relief. This comes from October’s Utility Reform Bill. The bill, known as the “Take Back Our Grid Act“, requires extended outage compensation. Compensation includes daily credits after 96 hour outages.
What Happens to Your CT Utility Bill Now?
For most customers, it’s business as usual. Keep an eye out for the best deals so you can save the most money. But everyone will appreciate the credits as they come. Eversource and UI can still appeal PURA’s rulings. So this can still change. For now, we can only wait and see. So we can only wait and see what happens next. For now, PURA has put it’s foot down and demands that utilities do better.
CTEnergyratings will keep an eye on this story as it develops. You can also learn more about saving money and energy by comparing rates and plans at https://www.ctenergyratings.com.