CLINTON – Connecticut Water will ask state regulators to boost its revenues by $21 million, or 18 percent, starting next July, the company said on Thursday.
The company did not say what the impact would be for customers — saying it would depend on the location and type of customer — but the company said it would raise the cost of a gallon of water from 1.5 cents to 1.8 cents, or 20 percent.
In 2021, Connecticut Water asked for a $20.2 million, or 20 percent, rate increase that would have raised the average residential customer’s bills by about $10.50 a month.
With headquarters in Clinton, Connecticut Water provides water to about 107,000 customers in 60 Connecticut towns, across over 1,800 miles of water main. Connecticut Water spokesman Dan Meaney said the rate hike request reflects continued investment in water infrastructure, increased costs of power and treatment chemicals, and the cost of borrowing since the last rate case.
Connecticut Water President Craig Patla said in a letter to PURA and state officials on Thursday that the company will complete $220 million worth of infrastructure projects between 2020 and January 2024 to maintain water quality, address “emerging contaminants” like PFAS, and meet new regulations for drinking water.
“We’re also not immune to the inflationary pressures of the current economy — in particular, rising prices in energy and chemicals — have had a direct impact on the cost of providing service to our customers and communities,” Patla said.
When PURA rejected Connecticut Water’s rate hike in 2021, allowing a revenue increase of just 1 percent, the company called it “among the harshest Connecticut utility rate decisions in recent memory,” and said it would have to return promptly to ask for another rate hike.
Connecticut utilities have bristled at PURA’s decisions since then. Last week, PURA approved a much smaller rate increase than Fairfield and New Haven county-based electric utility United Illuminating requested.
The decision followed a tense public argument between the company and state officials who thought UI’s public lobbying for their rate hike went too far. United Illuminating argued that PURA’s heightened scrutiny under Chair Marissa Gillett would hurt outside investment in the company, making it harder to finance grid improvements.
And Eversource subsidiary Aquarion Water is in court fighting PURA’s order that it cut its rates, instead of increasing its revenue by 28 percent as the company requested. That rate cut is on hold after a judge agreed to a stay until the appeal is decided.
“Connecticut Water understands that PURA has raised the standard for utilities to demonstrate that increasing rates is prudent and reasonable and we are preparing our case with that in mind,” Meaney said.