Public Citizen saves New England utility customers millions

FERC sides with Public Citizen and rejects utility’s rate increase request, saving New Englanders millions.

  • $6.57 million Amount Public Citizen saved New England utility customers
  • 6 Number of states that would have been impacted by the proposed charges

On March 15, 2019, 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.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 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.

Public Citizen serves as a watchdog at FERC and intervenes to promote renewable energy, fight unfair rate hikes and hold energy corporations accountable. 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. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program.

Highlights

  • A Connecticut-based utility asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for $6.57 million in extra profits to build a new substation.
  • Public Citizen protested the request, saying the plan "would force consumers to pay enormous sums for an imaginary attribute."
  • FERC rejected the utility’s rate request.