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Friday, April 25, 2014

Proposed higher late charge, reconnection fees postponed

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s proposal to increase penalties for late payments has been removed from the list of items that will be decided upon by the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission later this month.

Another CUC proposal to increase its non-rate revenue charges for its electric division has also been temporarily shelved.

These came about after the CPUC consultant, Georgetown Consulting Services, disagreed with the initial proposal filed by CUC to revise its non-rate revenue charges for all its utilities.

Based on the joint agreement CUC and Georgetown submitted to the commission, some proposed changes to CUC’s electric non-rate revenue charges will be deferred until the spring 2014 regulatory session.

Items deferred include, among other things, the proposal to increase late charges from 1 percent of the past due amount to 10 percent of the past due. Another is the new after-hours connection fee of $600 and a proposed increase in the investigation fee for the electric division from $60 to $210 as well the imposition of a $220 disconnection fee at the pole and a $200 reconnection fee at the pole.

CPUC will also defer a decision on the proposal to impose a $690 fee for renewable energy installation inspection; a $125 fee for renewable energy annual inspection; and a proposed new fee of $550 for unauthorized connection.

It was disclosed that CUC initially proposed 20 non-rate revenue charges for its electric utility division but Georgetown expressed a concern over 10 of these charges. The two later agreed to hold the 10 items in abeyance pending further review and consideration at the April 2014 commission meeting.

This leaves 10 other non-rate revenue charges that will be taken up by the commission. In the electric division, recommended for CPUC action is the increase in “non-sufficient funds” fee from $25 to $40; increase in the new service fee for meter change out from $60 to 95; and an inspection fee of $90. Also included for action are the increase in meter test fee for single phase from $30 to $75; meter test fee for three phase, $110; and disconnection notice fee of $15.

Other items on the CPUC agenda are the request to maintain the $60 fee for reconnection at meter and a reduction in the disconnection fee at meter from $60 to $45.

Georgetown recommended that the new fees can be implemented upon the CPUC’s approval and CUC’s filing of proposed descriptions of each of the electric non-rate revenue charges.

CUC and Georgetown also agreed on a limited number of non-rate revenue service fees for the water and wastewater divisions, which include the following: lab service charges, $60; increased wastewater tipping fees from $25 to $80; imposition of $100 as fee for backflow device inspection; FOG installation inspection fee, $170; FOG biannual inspection fee, $60; and FOG remediation fee, $110.

These fees will not be paid by everyone, only those customers who use a particular service. CUC earlier said that it is proposing these non-rate fees in order to keep the regular rates as low as possible.

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