CT Senate Passes Utility Reform Bill

Learn how the latest state senate utility reform bill could help keep CT electric rates affordable by reining in Eversource and UI.
The latest state senate utility reform bill could help keep CT electric rates affordable by reining in Eversource and UI.

Utility Reform Bill Seeks to Help Ratepayers

CT residents have been keeping a close eye on the Eversource Delivery Charge investigation. Eversource’s inadequate disaster response has also compounded the issue. Discussion has led to a recently passed state senate reform bill that’s aimed to make things better for resident ratepayers.

Why Is The Reform Bill Necessary?

Bill HB7006, known as the Take Back Our Grid Act, answers utility performance insufficiency. It does this by providing several provisions that soften the blow for ratepayers when the utility fails to reliably delivery electricity to customers. In other words, when utilities fail to deliver, they have to pay.

Commenting on the utility reform bill, Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) said,”This legislation would significantly change that, putting new regulations in place and better controls on our utilities based on performance.”

How the Utility Reform Bill Helps Ratepayers

The regulations proposed by the 20 page bill include performance-based systems for rate determinations. It also holds both Eversource and United Illuminating responsible for damage causing customer losses. For example, customers receive a $25 a day credit and $250 compensation for spoiled food and medications when outages lasting more than 96 hours. Considering that about 255,000 CT households had extended outages during Tropical Storm Isaias, similar instances could result in penalties of over $19 million.

This part of the bill would begin July 1, 2021.

Other topics in the bill include requirements that PURA examine utility cost recovery for  executive compensation, increased penalties for insufficient emergency response, and other topics affecting customers.

Unique Challenges About Utility Reform

The original bill was about 40 pages in length and included items that didn’t make it to the current bill. These included mentions of ways to stabilize the state solar industry. It also lacks expansion of programs to help municipalities benefit from renewable energy if they can’t site them in their own town.

But for all that was left out in the final version, ratepayers and senators are happy with the bill. Governor Lamont has already indicated his support now that it’s on the way to his desk. But there are several other factors in the energy bill indicating it isn’t quite as complete as it could have  been.

What Happens When Hb7006 Becomes Law?

It’s very likely that this bill will become law. So customer satisfaction and complaints will have more power over their CT electric rates than it has ever before.

Meanwhile, CTEnergyratings.com will continue tracking this story to keep customers informed about both retail suppliers and utilities. You can also learn more about saving money and energy by comparing rates and plans at https://www.ctenergyratings.com.


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