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August 2, 2022

United Illuminating seeks 5% rate increase

Photo | Contributed United Illuminating crews conduct storm cleanup in 2018.

United Illuminating is asking state regulators to increase distribution rates over the next three years, according to a notice of intent filed Monday.

In a letter to Jeffrey Gaudiosi, executive secretary of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the power company said it plans to file an application as part of a three-year plan to incrementally increase operating revenues.

The utility's last rate increase was approved by PURA in 2016 and continued through 2019. Since then, UI has made investments in its electrical distribution system, the company said.

"UI’s anticipated rate application will enable UI to build a stronger, smarter and more resilient grid, focused on maintaining reliability and strengthening the resiliency of the system to meet customer needs and evolving expectations," said Gage Frank, a spokesman for UI's owner, Avangrid. "Our goal in this rate case is to spread the proposed total rate increase over three years at an average total bill increase of approximately 5% per year across all rate classes, which represents an increase that is less than the current rate of inflation."

UI said that based on an agreement approved by PURA in 2021, the company reset its rates downward due to a reduction in the federal corporate tax rate. 

“Accordingly, UI customers are paying less today for distribution service than they were when rates were approved in 2016,” the letter states. 

UI said its application will demonstrate the need for increased rates to match current costs, including rising property taxes and expenses tied to inflation, as well as the need to pay for capital plans. 

The application will include a low-income discount rate, to provide relief to disadvantaged customers, as well as an economic development rate, the company said.

UI's proposal would spread the proposed rate increase over the three years, starting Sept. 1, 2023 through Sept. 1, 2025. Customers would see an increase in their bills by about 5% a year.

UI plans to submit its request in September or October. 

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said his office will “intervene on behalf of consumers, and we intend to aggressively scrutinize every charge and assumption in search of savings.”

UI provides electricity to about 341,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the southwestern part of the state.

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