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June 21, 2024

Tong seeks natural gas rate cuts

TABIUS MCCOY / CT MIRROR William Tong, Attorney General of Connecticut, speaking to John Dankosky at the In The Room event hosted by the CT Mirror.

State Attorney General William Tong is asking for rate decreases from two of the state’s natural gas distribution companies after they over-collected millions from ratepayers, according to new briefs his office filed with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

Tong’s briefs, filed with PURA on Thursday, ask for rate decreases that would save Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG) customers between $9 to $11 a month and Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) customers between $2 to $4 a month.

The rate decrease requests come in response to earnings reports from 2023 that showed CNG over-collected $8 million from residential and commercial customers in the year. The company returned about half that to ratepayers to offset high winter heating bills, but Tong said the other $4 million went to shareholders. Tong said that the company was accurately collecting previously approved rates, so the over-collection means the rates were in excess of what the company needed for expenses.

For SCG, Tong said the company’s return on equity calculations are too high and result in increased costs for ratepayers.

Tong’s office asked PURA to schedule a new rate hearing for CNG and SCG following the 2023 earnings report, and the companies submitted applications for rate increases — which would result in a $19.7 million or 4.3% revenue increase for CNG, and a $40.2 million or 9% revenue increase for SCG — in response. Those increases would represent a $13 monthly bill increase for the average residential customer, according to Tong’s office.

“CNG has over-collected millions of dollars from Connecticut ratepayers, and now they want millions more. That’s a non-starter,” Tong said in a statement after filing the new briefs with PURA. “My office has scrutinized every page of both applications from CNG and SCG and we found millions of dollars in unjustified and unwarranted requests, including inflated profits and unnecessary expenses. It’s clear that Connecticut families and businesses are owed substantial rate relief.”

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