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Electricity Fees Go Up, Rates Go Down

Easton and Weston residents may not have been expecting new charges on their electric bills. But they, like the rest of the state’s residents, will see new fees as part of Public Act 10-179.

Weston’s residents will see their bills increase in January, but Easton’s won't pay more until 2013. Despite the discrepancy -- which exists because the towns are served by different electricity providers – residents of the two towns will end up paying the same over an eight-year span under the legislation.

The fee has been called a back-door tax by Republicans, who are questioning its constitutionality. Residents will pay an additional $4 to $5 per month, depending on usage.

The fees will be offset, at least in part, by rate reductions announced by Department of Public Utility Control Chairman Kevin M. DelGobbo. The reductions will affect residential customers and nearly all other rate payers. Weston residents can expect an overall reduction of 7.8 percent, and Easton customers will see their rates fall by 1.5 percent.

Republicans such as state Sens. Toni Boucher and John McKinney have been vocal in their opposition, saying it's irresponsible to have electricity users foot the bill for Hartford's irresponsible fiscal policy.

The bill was passed to help balance the state budget. The rate adjustments, however, will save Weston residents more than $10 per 700 kilowatt hours of usage. Easton residents will save $2.51 for the same number of hours.

What do you think of the additional fee? Is it a backdoor tax, or a legitimate attempt to balance the state budget?

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