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CL&P Customers To Sound Off In Stamford On Proposed Rate Hike

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- More Connecticut residents will voice their opinions Thursday night about a proposed rate hike by Connecticut Light & Power.

Another public hearing will be held on the plan in Stamford on Thursday night, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

CL&P, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, is seeking permission from regulators to raise both its fixed and usage rates.

CL&P Customers To Sound Off On Proposed Rate Hike In Stamford

The utility says about $117 million would pay for new and stronger poles, wires, transformers and substation upgrades. Another $89.5 million is to repair damage from storms in 2011 and 2012, and $25.3 million is to protect equipment from future storms.

Under the plan, the fixed monthly residential service charge would climb from $16 to $25.50 -- a 56 percent hike.

"A lot of people are very upset about the fixed charge, saying they're having a hard time managing their bills already," Rich Sobolewski of the Office of Consumer Counsel told Schneidau.

Sobolewski said complaints are being heard mainly from elderly people with modest fixed incomes.

"They have high medical bills," he said. "They have other costs. And even a $10 increase in the total bill, that's just very hard to stomach."

If approved, the higher rates averaging another $150 a year could take effect as early as Dec. 1.

Consumer advocates have also argued the increase would threaten efforts to conserve electricity.

"Before you turn on a single light in your home, your bill will go up $115 a year," John Erlingheuser of the AARP told Schneidau earlier this week.

"It puts older people and disabled people in a very bad position because they may be in a position to try to conserve more when it won't actually help, and could put their health and safety at risk," he added.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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