Wallingford Electric Roller Coaster Ride Continues

energylogo33Back in December we reported about the price hike that Wallingford Electric was implementing to correct an “error in calculation”by CMEEC (Connecticut Municipal Electrical Energy Cooperative), the company they purchase their energy from. We were hoping that was the last increase we’d see for a while. It seems we were mistaken.

The New Increase

Faced with increased operating expenses and decreased demand for electricity, the Department of Public Utilities is hoping to raise electric rates by 2.5% in the coming year. If it’s approved, the average residential customer using 700 kilowatt hours of electricity would see an additional $2.50 added to their bill, making the average bill about $99.50. Department Director george Adair said the increases were necessary due to declines in sales during the past year that were causing revenues to be lower than expected. He attributed the drop in sales to a sluggish economy and the success of the department’s energy conservation efforts.

“A Double-Edged Sword”

Robert Beaumont, a member of the Public Utilities Commission, said the department’s energy conservation programs is a “double-edged sword”, since they help consumers decrease their energy consumption but also cause a drop in revenue that must be made up elsewhere. Richard Hendershot, General Manager of the Electric Division, said that they never told consumers that energy conservation would lower their rates, they said it would lower their consumption.

Well, isn’t that the one of the purposes of conserving energy, to lower your energy bill? We all want to save energy to help the environment and conserve our resources, but don’t most people first think of energy conservation as a means to save money in this economy? Don’t we use fluorescent light bulbs, programmable thermostats, home energy audits and Energy Star compliant appliances because of the potential savings on our electric bill? We know we do. We’re persuaded to think that lower consumption equals lower cost, so we follow all the energy-saving tips we can find to help put a few dollars back in our overtaxed wallets. Now the Electric Division is showing us the error in our math.

Other Utility Hikes

Also part of the budget proposal that contained the electric rate hike were hikes for Water and Sewer customers as well. Slated to begin June 1st, charges for water usage could rise from $2.66 to $2.88 per hundred cubic feet, while sewer rates would rise from $3.52 to $3.73, a quarterly increase of about $9.00.

Mayor William Dickinson has said that he has asked all departments to submit budgets that do not show an increase from the previous year, but the Department of Public Utilities couldn’t comply, citing salary and benefit increases and the previously mentioned “error in calculation” from CMEEC as primary causes. The budget still has to be approved by Dickinson and then go before the Town Council for approval before the rate hikes will take effect. We hope that they will see reason and ask for an amendment to the department’s budget before passing it.

Please feel free to weigh in with your opinion on this proposed rate hike in the comments.

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  1. Cm zack

    lol… Nice, so here I am… getting the screwes tightened yet again by the wonderful town of Wallingford (or as we like to call it.. “Garbage Town!”. When I first moved here back in 1993, one of the main reasons for doing so was the electricity.. lol now what? I reduce consumption so I can pay more… you go figure it out.. Im done. This town does nothing for us, no trash pick up (unless you pay) pay at the dump (town resident shoud not have to pay) one of the dirtiest towns since Bridgeport with all the garbage and littler along Rte 5 and the side roads leading to and from it.. Polluted Quinnipiac river, folks with so much junk on thier properties you’d think you were in some ghetto someplace. All this and tax increase too. When will we actually get something for our money in Wallingford? C’mon, its about time the city did one for the residents, dont you think?

  2. Post
    The Harriman Team

    I agree with most of what you say, although I don’t think Wallingford had much to do with the Quinnipiac River pollution; that was pretty much a Meriden/New Haven issue, from what I can gather. I do agree, however, that to have to pay more for your electrical bill just because you reduce consumption is pretty strange. I thought that by reducing consumption you were reducing your expense, and that’s what utility companies have always drilled into us, but now it seems that’s not the case. I’m not a particular fan of Mayor Dickinson these days, but at least he’s asked the utilities to present him with budgets that don’t reflect any increases. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, and it also remains to be seen if these rate hikes get passed. Since the Bailout has obviously passed me by (and a lot of other people too), I’ll be hoping that the Mayor and Town Council can see reason and vote them down. We love Wallingford and certainly don’t want to move, but please don’t make it any harder to live here.

  3. Cm zack

    I agree with every thing you said, but about the River, First let me say, Im no prude, no tree hugger-save the world- activist or anything like that, just a property owner sick of being surrounded by folks who simply dont care or know better… so, if you follow the Q-river along the parkway (HUGE polluter) down behind all the factories behind the Silver Smith park.. youll see what I mean… and im not really saying its entirley the towns fault but, someone needs to do something about whats going into the water and all the garbage on the banks.

    I walk around town alot with my dog and cant help but wonder why there are little to no “blight” laws in effect, the amount of garbage some of the residents have piled around thier properties is astounding.. I cannot afford to live on “The other side of the tracks” where more people actually care about the apperance of thier properties but that doesnt mean i have to live in filth.. does it? Would it hurt to send out the street sweepers like once or twice a mont to clean rte 5? or have people be responsible for keeping thier fronts of thier homes clean, including trash in the road like broken bottles and garbage thrown from cars?

    I to love my town, I just hate to see it so dirty and then have to pay more to look at it. By the way… I love this site, you guys are doing a great job!

  4. Post
    The Harriman Team

    Thanks very much for the kind words, we try our best to put out good content! I wasn’t aware of the conditions you describe behind Silversmith Park. Next time you’re out that way, if you want to take some pictures I’d be happy to use them (with your permission, of course) in a post about the conditions down there. I agree there should be no reason for trash to accumulate there, and something should be done. I might even take a walk down there myself, if I ever get time to get out of the house! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and voicing your opinion, it’s obvious you feel strongly about Wallingford and you’ve made some good points. If more residents took pride in the appearance of their home and town, we’d be much better off. Maybe it’s time for a Community Clean-up Day for the Q-River banks!

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