The employees of United Illuminating are dedicated and hardworking members of the communities we serve. That’s why we understand, as well as anyone, that the current inflationary pressures on everything from milk to electricity are causing incredible strain on the pocketbooks of families across Connecticut.
Unfortunately, over the past few days the questions concerning the record high supply prices have been directed at the wrong entities. For over 20 years, Connecticut’s utilities have been prohibited from owning energy generation, and their customers must rely on the prices dictated by out-of-state merchant generators.
Those merchant generators have seen their revenues and stock prices rise dramatically over the last few years, as Connecticut ratepayers have paid more and more every month for their electricity. United Illuminating is a Connecticut-based company with proud Connecticut employees. We take pride in keeping your lights on and have a sterling record of providing safe and reliable service, with some of the highest reliability scores in the nation.
This past year, five suppliers bid for the opportunity to sell electricity through the standard offer and offered nothing short of record high bids. Not surprisingly, those five companies have seen their stock prices increase by as much as 114%, with revenues totaling more than $342 billion combined.
United Illuminating has a statutory duty to provide a supply option to its customers at no mark up or profit. The result of the procurement process, which is overseen by, and done hand-in-hand with, state regulators, resulted in record high prices. This market structure was designed to deliver competitive pricing to customers, but it is clear it has failed – these companies are enjoying record high revenue while Connecticut customers face massive price increases. Unfortunately, UI has no control over the price of this energy supply.
We all need to come together to understand the root causes of these issues and find a way to deliver a better result for our customers. With these historic price increases, transparency is more important than ever. We should be sure that the companies responsible are at the table and opening up their books, just as UI, a highly regulated utility, is required to do.
That is the first step to getting answers and finding solutions. Our customers, our neighbors, and your constituents deserve nothing less.
Rams is the UI Chief Line Crew Lead and President of UWUA Local 470-1