A gas company has been accused of overcharging their customers by $8 million, causing concern from lawmakers and customers.
Connecticut Natural Gas Company Under Fire
Connecticut Natural Gas customers will see an as-yet-undetermined bill credit over the final three months of 2023 after state officials found that the Orange-based utility earned $8 million more than the company was allowed.
Connecticut Natural Gas serves around 184,000 customers and was found to be overcharging customers by more than $8 million, according to Attorney General William Tong.
Tong called on utility regulators to demand customer rebates after a review of the company’s earnings report revealed it had been earning 177 basis points above its authorized return on equity of 9.3%.
Tong stated that the company’s rates seem to be “well beyond what is necessary to cover their expenses.”
“Refund Customers for Overcharging”
Tong is requesting that the state Public Utilities Regulatory Commission hold hearings on the company’s natural gas rates to issue refunds to customers.
“CNG is profiting off the backs of Connecticut families and businesses,” Tong said in a statement released Monday. “We pay far too much for our utilities as it is, we should not be charged a penny more than needed. CNG needs to come before PURA right away for a full rate hearing so we can scrutinize their books and get these inflated costs under control.”
Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority on Monday approved bill credits in excess of $4.06 million to be spread across CNG’s 184,000 customers in Greenwich and 25 central Connecticut communities, starting Oct. 1 and ending through Dec. 31.
The actual amount of the bill credits is still being calculated, according to officials with the office of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.
“Ratepayers Shouldn’t be Subsidizing CNG Shareholders”
He added that Connecticut ratepayers should not be subsidizing CNG shareholders.
The state’s Consumer Counsel, Claire Coleman, supported Tong’s petition, calling for a line-by-line accounting of the company’s earnings, stating that when rates fall out of sync with a utility’s actual cost needs, it can affect the pocketbooks and quality of life of Connecticut residents.
While state regulators have previously approved the company’s current natural gas rates, regulators have approved the company’s plan to refund more than $4 million to customers this fall under an “earnings sharing mechanism.”
Craig Gilvard, a spokesman for Connecticut Natural Gas’ parent company Avangrid, stated that the company is “pleased to be able to return money to ratepayers this year.”
“While CNG is reviewing the motion filed by the Attorney General’s Office this morning, PURA has already approved CNG’s proposal to return over $4 million to its ratepayers this upcoming heating season,” he said in a statement.
Though CNG earned $8 million more than it was allowed, bill credits will only total half that amount with the other $4 million going to shareholders of the utility, which is a subsidiary of Orange-based Avangrid.
Get the news you need at It’s On News.