UPDATED: CL&P seeks 5.9 percent rate increase

State utilities regulators announced today that Connecticut Light & Power has sent notification of a rate increase request that would raise the average customer bill by about 5.9 percent.

The increase is needed to replace aging infrastructure and strengthen the electricity system, the company said in a news release. If approved, it would take effect Dec. 1, raising the monthly bill of an average residential customer using 700 kilowatt hours by $6.76, the company said. CL&P said it has not filed for a distribution rate increase since 2010.

CL&P said it has a $117 million operating deficiency due to continued capital investments in electric infrastructure to improve reliability and service. These investments, including new and stronger poles, wires, transformers and substation upgrades, benefit customers by improving public safety, system reliability and overall service quality, the company said. CL&P said customers are seeing fewer and shorter power outages, as the system performed at its highest level in 2013 since the year 2000.

The company’s filing also will implement the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’s directives for the recovery of costs for system resiliency and the catastrophic storms that struck Connecticut in 2011 and 2012. Those storms wiped out power to hundreds of thousands of customers across the state. Although PURA disallowed a portion of CL&P’s storm costs, it ultimately approved storm recovery over a six-year period beginning on Dec. 1, with $89.5 million in the first year as part of this rate request.

In an effort to further drive reliability, the company said it is also investing in “smart switches” to reduce the number and duration of power outages. Between July 1, 2012, and the end of 2015, CL&P will invest more than $726 million to install and improve electric distribution facilities serving the 149 cities and towns within its service territory.

The request has been assigned PURA Docket No. 14-05-06. PURA said it will establish a schedule for review and assessment of the request, and that public hearings will be scheduled.

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