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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inos lauds deferral of other CUC proposals

Gov. Eloy S. Inos has lauded the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission’s recent decision to put off making a decision on a number of proposals the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has been pushing for, describing it as a modest approach.

Inos pointed out that the public should be properly informed on how the new rate decisions will actually impact them.

CPUC approved last week CUC’s petition to generate an additional $2.8 million by increasing the electric base rates of its customers. This will most affect those ratepayers consuming more than the minimum 350 kWh per month.

Residential customers who consume 0 to 350 kWh per month will therefore not see an increase in their bills because the order also indicated that CUC is mandated to provide residential users a refund pursuant to Public Law 16-7.

“I believe CPUC has taken a more modest approach,” said Inos, adding that if the commission did not defer or deny the other proposals outside the base rate petition, the effect would probably have been detrimental to ratepayers.

CPUC tabled a number of issues and proposals for its April regulatory meeting. These include funding for the Telesource change order No. 5 that, if granted, would allow CUC to collect from customers the funds that will be used to pay the extended contract of the independent power producer.

Also suspended until next meeting is CUC’s proposal to impose a standby charge on eight large CUC customers, amounting to $20 per kWh monthly.

The existing $1.50 “convenience fee” is also up for either suspension or continuous collection by CPUC. Ten other non-rate fees endorsed by CUC for specific administrative and clerical services will also be decided by the commission in April.

According to Inos, all current fees at CUC are still subject to adjustments by CPUC.

The governor said that the administration, by paying government rate on its utilities, is essentially providing subsidy to CUC operations.

“The whole objective is to bring down the cost,” he added.

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