Sen. Blumenthal vows to fight proposed Aquarion rate increases

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Saturday he plans to fight the proposed rate increases by Aquarion and he emphasized that water is not a luxury -- it's a necessity.
"This water rate increase is abominable. It is absolutely unacceptable and 27% over three years has to be reduced. I'm telling the regulators at the state level, 'Please, reject this rate increase. Just say no,'" Blumenthal said.
Aquarion released a statement which can be read below:
"Since our last rate adjustment, approved by PURA in 2013, Aquarion has undertaken more than $740 million in water infrastructure investments essential to ensuring high-quality drinking water for customers. Headlines of failing water systems around the country remind us of what can happen when water infrastructure upgrades are ignored.
Although a 25% increase has been mentioned in the news, it is not an accurate depiction of this rate filing. Aquarion has proposed a rate increase for Year 2 and Year 3 in its filing, but no actual increase amounts will be determined in this rate review. If Aquarion’s proposed rate adjustment is approved for Year 1, most residential customers would see an 8.2% increase above what they are currently paying.
Aquarion has also proposed expanding its customer assistance program, offering a 15% bill discount for eligible, low-income customers. This assistance program would be in addition to its current voucher and payment plan programs designed to help customers that may have difficulty paying their bills.
If Aquarion’s proposed rate adjustment is approved without modification, and using the Company’s Eastern Division as an example, in Rate Year 1 a typical residential customer using 72,000 gallons per year would experience a total annual bill impact of $51, or a monthly increase of $4.25. Aquarion’s water rates are among the most affordable in Connecticut, offering one of the best consumer values among essential services for residents."