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NPU board OKs rate hikes, denies grant increase

Published May 25. 2010 6:48PM   Updated May 25. 2010 6:49PM

Norwich – With little discussion tonight, the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners voted 4-1 on three separate votes in favor of rate increases for electricity, water and natural gas service.

Commission Chairman said while it seemed the votes were being taken without discussion, actually the commission has had numerous discussions in recent weeks and heard comments from the public during a public hearing. The board discussed the rate increases for an hour at a special meeting May 12. Members were puzzled however that they have received few comments from the public on the rate increases.

Commission member Alan Remondi cast the lone dissenting vote against the rate increases, saying little tonight. At the last meeting, Remondi described an apparent “disconnect” between NPU and the City Council, which is trying to approve a no-tax-increase city budget for the coming year. As with the city budget, the three rate increases take effect July 1.

Under the plan, the average residential customer would see a gas bill rise by $12.50 per month, an electric bill increase by $2.60 and a water bill by $4 a month.

The commission tonight also rejected by consensus a request from Alderman William Nash and Alderwoman Jacqueline Caron to increase the utility’s 10 percent revenue sharing grant to the city by $202,000 to restore two school resource police officers.

Chairman James Sullivan asked NPU General Manager John Bilda to write a letter to the City Council offering to continue to help the city save money in ways traditionally related to utilities.

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