Eversource CEO Says Winter in CT Will Include Costly Electric Bills

The CEO of Eversource Energy told financial analysts on Thursday that the amount the majority of residential electricity customers in Connecticut will pay could rise significantly in January, after a review by state utility regulators.

Joe Nolan said residential customers in Connecticut could see the per-kilowatt-hour charge on the supply portion of their electric bills mirror what Eversource customers in New Hampshire are already paying. Standard service customers in the Granite State saw their electricity supply rates drop from 11 cents per kilowatt hour to 22 cents per kilowatt hour in August, Nolan said, “and similar levels are likely in Connecticut and Massachusetts from of January”.

“This winter is shaping up to be particularly difficult for New England,” he said. “We offer our customers innovative payment options, including year-round budget billing. But this winter promises to be costly for these customers.”

Under Connecticut’s standard service rules, customers allow Eversource and The United Illuminating Co. to purchase the electricity they will use instead of contracting the supply to a third-party electricity provider. Both utilities must pay exactly what it costs to purchase electricity from power generators; they are not allowed to profit from the power supply.

But beyond the requirement that Connecticut utility companies not take advantage of energy supply charges on customer bills, there is no prohibition on the increase in the share of electricity. supplying customers’ overall electricity bills. The state Utilities Regulatory Authority must review cost information provided by utility companies with the Office of Consumer Advice, which represents the interest of utility ratepayers.

PURA representatives and Claire Coleman, who is Connecticut’s consumer advocate, were not immediately available Friday to respond to Nolan’s comments.

In an interview with analysts, Nolan blamed the expected rate increases on “disruptions in global energy markets caused by the war in Ukraine,” which are limiting access to liquefied natural gas, which is used to supplement supplying the natural gas power plants which produce the majority of the electricity used in New England.

“We understand that our customers are very concerned about energy costs this winter,” Nolan said. “Not only are fossil fuel prices much higher than they were a year ago, but our region continues to be challenged by a combination of heavy reliance on production natural gas and inadequate infrastructure to supply enough natural gas to this generation during the cold winter months.”

Nolan’s comments were the most specific he has made to date on the planned increase in electricity rates for Eversource customers in Connecticut. Mitch Gross, a spokesman for the utility, said the company had done everything possible to impress on customers that prices would go up.

“We regularly communicate with customers about rates, and we specifically began communicating with customers about higher winter energy costs in August to make sure everyone knew what to expect, could start preparing, and knew how to get help,” Gross said. .

The company is also hosting webinars on November 17, December 1, and December 8 that will include information on disconnection protection, programs to reduce outstanding balances with affordable monthly payments, extended payment plans, and energy efficiency at no cost to reduce energy consumption. bills, he said.

Later this month, the company is expected to submit to state utility regulators what it costs to purchase the electricity that will supply Eversource’s standard service customers for the first six months of the year. next.

Nolan’s remarks came as he and other company officials discussed the company’s third quarter results with financial analysts.

Eversource saw its profits rise 23.2% in the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2021, according to company officials. The company earned $349.4 million, or $1.00 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with earnings from
$283.2 million, or 82 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2021.

For the first nine months of 2022, Eversource posted earnings of $1.08 billion or $3.13 per share, an increase of 18.7% over the same period in 2021.

Company officials reaffirmed to analysts that Eversource expects full-year 2022 earnings per share to be between $4.04 and $4.14 per share. The utility’s expected long-term earnings per share rate is expected to be between 5% and 7% from the $3.86 per share that Evesource earned in 2021.

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