Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is asking Eversource to reconsider a rate increase on natural gas customers.
The state’s largest utility has proposed a rate increase of 15 percent over the next three years.
“To be asking for rate increases when they are receiving massive tax cuts as a result of the recent federal tax reduction bill is absolutely a mockery of taxpayer and consumer interests,” Blumenthal said.
Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says the utility agrees with Senator Blumenthal that customers should receive the benefits of the new tax law.
“In fact, thanks to the changes in tax law, we’ve reduced our total request by more than $44 million. It’s important to note that our request is to further strengthen the natural gas distribution system and to continue to provide our customers top tier reliability.”
Gross said that the increase is for pipe upgrades from cast iron and bare steel to newer plastic pipe, “which is safer, more durable, and better able to handle fluctuations in underground temperatures.” Gross said the investments will “minimize repairs and service interruptions.”
Still Blumenthal says it isn’t right for Eversource to raise the rates.
“These tax cuts have led the Massachusetts Department of Public Utility to reduce the Massachusetts requested rates from a $20 million proposed increase to a $34.5 million reduction. That action by the Massachusetts regulators out to be a precedent for Connecticut.”
The utility’s filing on the rate increase proposal is due June 11.