Don’t inject politics into rate setting
A bill has been presented to require the Connecticut General Assembly to approve rate increases set by PURA (Public Utility Regulatory Authority), specifically for Eversource and United Illuminating. (“Conley proposes bill requiring legislature to approve rate increases for electricity, natural gas,” Jan. 10)
PURA is a quasi-judicial independent agency of the state and can issue binding orders. If approved, this bill would take away the rate making power of PURA and transfer that ultimate decision to the politicians in Hartford. In my mind this would be a colossal mistake. It would politicize the rate making process and grant decision-making power to politicians who expect to be elected or reelected. I cannot imagine a scenario where this group would ever approve of raising utility rates no matter how that increase may be justified. It also hands decision power over rate making of investor-owned, publicly traded utilities to a group with little or no experience in utility rate making.
A better alternative may be to mandate PURA to engage professional outside consultants to conduct an efficiency audit of every aspect of the utilities operation to see where significant cost savings could be achieved, including the method used for purchasing power, and administrative and overhead costs.
Think hard about injecting partisan politicians into the rate making process.
Marshall T. Chiaraluce