Stan­dard elec­tric rates set to jump

The News-Times - - BUSINESS - By Alexan­der Soule

The costs Con­necti­cut cus­tomers pay for the gen­er­a­tion of the elec­tric­ity they use will rise 19 per­cent or 24 per­cent on av­er­age in the first half of next year for house­holds and busi­nesses en­rolled by de­fault with one of the two ma­jor util­i­ties op­er­at­ing in the state.

As of Jan­uary, the “stan­dard ser­vice” gen­er­a­tion rate of­fered by Ever­source will in­crease to 10.14 cents a kilo­watt hour or $76 a month on av­er­age — from the cur­rent 8.53 cents — for a hike of $12 monthly, or 18.9 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Con­necti­cut Depart­ment of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion. Avan­grid’s elec­tric gen­er­a­tion rate will in­crease 24.1 per­cent to 11.23 cents a kilo­watt hour, an in­crease of more than $16 monthly on av­er­age.

With dual head­quar­ters in Hart­ford and Bos­ton, Ever­source pro­vides ser­vice in nearly 150 Con­necti­cut mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing Stam­ford, Dan­bury and much of the south­west­ern sec­tion of the state. The com­pany re­ported a 21 per­cent in­crease in thirdquar­ter ex­penses it in­curred to pur­chase and trans­mit power to Con­necti­cut cus­tomers, while still achiev­ing a 4 per­cent in­crease in prof­its from a year ear­lier to $100.3 mil­lion.

Avan­grid is based in Orange, with ter­ri­to­ries in­clud­ing Bridge­port, New Haven and sur­round­ing

towns. The com­pany sim­i­larly re­ported in­creased costs for en­ergy and an over­all 26 per­cent in­crease in earn­ings for the third quar­ter to $125 mil­lion, in­clud­ing prof­its from its Con­necti­cut Nat­u­ral Gas and South­ern Con­necti­cut Gas di­vi­sions.

“We’re not in the gen­er­a­tion busi­ness and we buy for cus­tomers who re­main with us on last-re­sort or ba­sic ser­vice,” said Phil Lembo, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Ever­source, on a con­fer­ence call with in­vest­ment an­a­lysts last month. “We pride our­selves on re­ally be­ing a leader in terms of be­ing able to man­age our busi­ness in a cost­ef­fec­tive man­ner . ... You can lower cost and im­prove ser­vice at the same time —

and we con­tinue to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to do that.”

The util­i­ties and the state main­tain com­par­a­tive rates on the En­er­gize CT web­site at www.en­er­gizect.com, with call cen­ter representatives avail­able at 1-877-9473873 to help peo­ple weigh their op­tions.

Of al­ter­na­tive providers that do not charge monthly fees or ex­tra charges for en­roll­ment or can­cel­la­tion of ser­vice, Di­rect En­ergy of­fers the best rate at present in Ever­source’s ser­vice ter­ri­to­ries, at $9.39 cents a kilo­watt hour, amount­ing to a sav­ings of $5.64 on av­er­age monthly from stan­dard ser­vice from Ever­source.

Star­ion En­ergy is cur­rently tops for Avan­grid al­ter­na­tives that do not tack on ex­tra fees, at just un­der

10 cents for a monthly sav­ings of $9.27, on av­er­age.

Sev­eral pro­grams of­fer

fixed rates well above that of stan­dard ser­vice from Ever­source and Avan­grid, with the Depart­ment of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion main­tain­ing an on­go­ing list of providers as well that have vari­able rates on be­yond stan­dard ser­vice.

The DCP ad­vises home­own­ers and busi­nesses to ask ques­tions in ad­vance of sign­ing up for vari­able-rate con­tracts, to in­clude the length of any con­tract, whether it will re­new au­to­mat­i­cally and how much no­tice is re­quired to switch back to stan­dard ser­vice. And the depart­ment ad­vises peo­ple to han­dle door-to-door sales­peo­ple by ask­ing to see iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and for a tele­phone num­ber to call to sign up, rather than sign­ing any on-thes­pot con­tract.

Ever­source tech­ni­cians at work this week in Norwalk. Alexan­der Soule / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

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