Higher Eversource, United Illuminating Service Charges Spark Confusion Among CT Customers

Eversource customers in Connecticut are opening their monthly bills to find an increase in the service charge.

Electricity Photo Credit: Pixabay

Increased charges that were approved by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) in November of 2020, went into effect on Friday, Jan. 1. The hikes were okayed for Eversource as well as United Illuminating residential and business customers. Customers are just now beginning to see the effects of the change

The increase for residential Eversource is in its generation service charge which went from *7.37 cents per kilowatt-hour to 8.39.

There are more than 1.26 million Eversource business and residential customers in Connecticut.

United Illuminating went from 8.66 cents to 9.36 per kilowatt-hour.

The increase is for “standard service generation,” which is the cost that Eversorce and UI pay to power-generating companies to purchase electricity that they then passed on to the customers. 

Under Connecticut law, service providers like Eversource are not allowed to make a profit on the new rates. In general, profits are anything left over after salary, business expenses, capital plans, and other costs of doing business are paid.

Energy suppliers create new generation rates per kilowatt-hour twice a year and they go into effect in January and July, PURA explained. The idea is to vary the rate for the customer’s benefit depending on seasonal supply and demand. The current rate will be in effect through June 30.

General electricity rate increases are different than the standard service generation rate. New general service rates are proposed every four years.

While January bills show a rate increase, it is smaller than what has been charged over the last three years, PURA said. Over that time period, the Eversource winter rate averaged out to be about 9.54 cents per kilowatt-hour.

At Eversource, the last three residential “rate 1” standard service charges were 9.41 cents per kilowatt-hour Jan.-June 2020, 7.37 per hour from July through December, and now 8.39 per hour.

Due to COVID-19 and related economic changes, Eversource is offering customers the chance to lower their monthly payments by spreading out past-due amounts over the course of up to 24 months. Enrollment in this plan is available through Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Eversource came under fire over the summer for a rate increase and multi-day power outages due to Tropical Storm Isaias. 

*Correction: A previous version of this article reported rates as dollars instead of cents.

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