State regulators approved tiered pricing and a small rate increase for customers of Connecticut Water on Wednesday. The water utility has acquired 60 smaller water systems in the last 25 years and now serves nearly 350,000 customers across 60 Connecticut towns.
The average residential Connecticut Water customer will pay about $40 more each year, after state regulators partially approved a rate increase requested by the company.
The decision represents a middle ground between a stark 20 percent increase the company requested, and a draft decision from the Public Utility Regulatory Authority that would have allowed for an increase of less than 1 percent.
Citing years of capital improvements without a general rate increase, Connecticut Water had asked for a rate increase that would increase the typical residential bill by $10.50 a month and increase the company’s revenue by about $20.2 million. PURA countered with a proposal to increase customer bills by about 50 cents a month – a decision the company said was “among the harshest” in recent PURA history.
PURA ultimately decided to allow Connecticut Water to increase its revenues by about $5.2 million – which the company said would increase rates for residential customers by about $2.60 a month.
Connecticut Water spokesman Dan Meaney said the company appreciated PURA’s thorough review, and said the company is reviewing the final decision approved by PURA.
“Customers can be assured that the 200+ employees of Connecticut Water are committed to the company’s vital public health and safety mission: delivering a reliable supply of safe drinking water to families and communities across the state, ensuring fire hydrants have a robust water supply, being good stewards of the environment, and providing world-class customer service,” Meaney said in an email.
PURA also approved a new tiered pricing system for the water utility. The system adds fees for the largest residential water users, and includes a new low-income rate class that offers a 15 percent discount to customers in households earning up to 60 percent of the state median income.
Connecticut Water said it was pleased the low-income program – which it believes is the first in the state – was approved, and said it hoped the fee for the largest users would encourage water conservation, especially for lawn watering and irrigation.