Connecticut natural gas utilities filed a "rate case" with the Public Utility Regulatory Authority

Written on: July 10, 2013 by ICM

Chirs Herb, President, CEMA

On July 8th, the states natural gas utilities filed a “rate case” with the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA). That rate case includes a request to expand natural gas lines and their ability to recover the cost of expansion through rates over the next 10 years.
Over the past year, the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA) has been engaged in a battle to ensure that the State of Connecticut remains out of this fight. As an industry, we were successful in defeating legislation that would use taxpayer money to pay for new pipeline infrastructure and subsidize conversion from oilheat to gas.
Now the utilities are asking regulators to approve a plan to expand their business. Although this is a more aggressive posture than we have seen in the past, the utilities have always had the ability to go to PURA (formerly DPUC) and seek approval to expand.
CEMA is working with our natural gas consultant on a strategy to ensure that we stop as much of the proposed expansion as possible. We are meeting with several regulatory attorneys who specialize in natural gas rate cases to see if possible legal intervention in this rate case makes sense.
“The natural gas plan is expensive, risky and provides no guarantee to save anyone any money in the future  it was not that long ago when electricity was suppose to be too cheap to meter and now it is the most expensive way to heat a home”, said Chiris Herb, President, CEMA.“Just like the increase in the gasoline and diesel tax that the state let happen last week, the natural gas expansion plan will end up costing homeowners more in the end.”
Herb went on to say that this ambitious and ill conceived natural gas expansion plan will be paid for by the ratepayers of Connecticut without any shareholder contribution – and that’s just plain wrong.
The Office of Consumer Council (OCC), the Office of the Attorney General (AG) along with several environmental organizations will intervene on behalf of ratepayers about the cost of the plan and the impact natural gas expansion will have on the environment.
CEMA’s Legislative Committee, Chaired by Tom Devine of Devine Bros. Inc., and the Advertising Committee are also working on an oilheat promotion campaign to remind legislators, regulators and our customers of the benefits of oilheat and why it is the better choice!
Once we have finalized our plan we will inform our members on what comes next and how we can assist you in protecting your business.