From our friends at the CT Roundtable on Climate & Jobs:
We are reaching out to groups who participated in our legislative campaign in 2015 to cap the monthly fixed charge for residential electric customers. You’ll remember that the legislation we won in June 2015 did not set a hard cap at $10, but it did clearly narrow and limit what costs can be included in the fixed charge (“only the fixed costs and operation and maintenance expenses directly related to metering, billing, service connections and the provision of customer service”). That new law is now being tested for the first time with a new rate case for United Illuminating (UI).
UI has not requested any change in the fixed charge (currently set at $17.25/month), but they have submitted calculations that try to justify keeping the fixed charge at that amount. Important evidence in the rate case supports a significant reduction, however. The Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) has submitted expert testimony arguing that under the new law, UI’s fixed charge should drop to $7.63/month. That’s a 56% reduction!
We want to make sure the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) applies the new law when it determines UI’s new rate structure.
The significance of reducing the fixed charge is that it gives consumers more control over their energy bill because more of it is based on actual usage. So it provides greater incentive for efficiency and for converting to renewables, thereby supporting the growth of local green jobs and a clean energy economy.
The practical impact is that if you are the average 700kWh/mo customer, your total monthly bill will not change. If you’re a below-average user, your bill will decrease; and if you’re an above-average user, your bill will increase a bit, but you will be able to counter that via conservation and efficiency. And if your rooftop solar provides all your electricity, you’ll be paying UI less than half what you’re paying now each month.
Our goal is raise the public visibility of this part of the rate case, and convince PURA to act and enforce the law with real scrutiny for UI’s cost claims. While the immediate impact is on UI customers, the outcome will also have a direct impact on the next rate case for Eversource, which is likely to come next year.
We hope you’ll join us in this important campaign.
Here are some Action Steps to choose from:
- Endorse our sign-on statement for individuals (online at bit.ly/UI9-16)
- Email your own comment to PURA, demanding that the agency enforce the law and reduce UI’s fixed charge (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
) – must reference Docket No. 16-06-04
- Attend one of the public hearings (info at bit.ly/UI-hearings)
- Write a letter to the editor
- Ask your state legislators to speak up and to contact PURA (let’s make this a campaign issue!)
We are attaching two documents: first, a pdf version of the online statement: Roundtable – 2016 UI Rate Case comment FINAL
The second document is a leaflet with a link to the online statement and info about the public hearings: UI Fixed Charge handout CURRENT
We look forward to working with you to win a substantial reduction in the residential fixed charge.
John Humphries, CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs
Bill Dornbos, Acadia Center