Proposed Conn. utility increases draw a fight

Electric meter (file).
Electric meter (file).

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A fight is brewing over a request by Connecticut’s largest utility to raise rates by $232 million to upgrade equipment following destructive storms.

Customers will pay an average $150 more a year, up about 6 percent, if regulators side with Connecticut Light & Power.

Consumer advocates say monthly charges would rise regardless of how much electricity is used, which they say would threaten efforts to conserve electricity.

CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross says the rate request is needed for capital investments. He says reliability was better last year than in more than a decade due to improvements and upgrades.

CL&P, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, says about $117 million would pay for new and stronger poles, wires, transformers and substation upgrades. Another $89.5 million is to repair storm damage and $25.3 million is to protect equipment from future storms.

The first of three public hearings is scheduled for Wednesday. A draft decision is expected in December.

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