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FERC Sides With Public Citizen, Rejects Utility’s Rate Increase Request, Saving New Englanders Millions

Public Citizen Opposed $6.57 Million in Extra Profits Sought by Utility

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has rejected a Connecticut-based utility’s request for $6.57 million in extra profits for building a new substation project, following an intervention and protest from Public Citizen.

On March 15, United Illuminating Company – a subsidiary of the Spain-based energy conglomerate Iberdrola – asked FERC to allow it to assess an extra charge as part of a new energy substation project, with the extra charge designed only to increase the utility’s profits.

The utility claimed that the money was needed due to the “increased risks and challenges” of the construction project. Public Citizen opposed the rate increase, challenging the utility’s claim. The utility company then filed a motion to kick Public Citizen out of the proceedings.

In its May 14 order, FERC not only agreed that Public Citizen had the right to intervene in the proceedings, but it also rejected the utility’s rate request. The increase would have affected consumers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Public Citizen serves as a watchdog at FERC and intervenes to promote renewable energy, fight unfair rate hikes and hold energy corporations accountable,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “This is a win for New Englanders, who shouldn’t be asked to foot a multimillion-dollar bill purely to increase a corporation’s profit margins.”

Read the filing here.