Reducing Fixed Charges for Electric Customers

In 2015, a coalition of 30+ groups joined with the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs and Acadia Center to win legislation to stop runaway fixed charges for residential electric customers by establishing a monthly cap on such fees.

Fixed charges are flat monthly fees that the customer must pay just to have access to electricity. Over the previous decade, fixed charges for residential customers had more than doubled – to the highest (Eversource/CL&P, $19.25/month) and second highest (United Illuminating, $17.25/month) in New England for any major electric utility. In 2015, Eversource residential customers in MA were paying monthly fixed charges of less than $7.

High fixed charges reduce consumers’ control over their energy costs and hurt progress on energy efficiency and clean energy, hindering the growth of a green jobs economy.

The new CT law signed by Gov. Dan Malloy in 2015 clearly defines and limits what costs can be included in the fixed charge:

“…only the fixed costs and operation and maintenance expenses directly related to metering, billing, service connections and the provision of customer service.”

This law was tested for the first time with the 2016 application from United Illuminating (UI) to increase its rates and charges.

In December 2016, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced its decision to reduce UI’s residential fixed charge to $9.64 — a 45% reduction and below the cap of $10/month we sought in our 2015 legislative campaign!

In April 2018, PURA reduced Eversource’s monthly residential fixed charge from $19.25 (the highest of any customers in the northeast) to $9.21 — a 53% reduction!

Now all residential customers of CT’s major utilities have fixed charges below the $10 monthly cap we sought in our 2015 campaign.