‘Broad discretion in setting rates’: Judge sides with PURA, dismissing most claims in Aquarion’s rate cut appeal

Superior Court Judge Matthew Budzik sided with PURA in dismissing nine of the 12 counts of Aquarion’s appeal. He remanded two counts to PURA, along with part of a third. Budzik upheld PURA’s methodology in determining rate cases, saying that the agency has broad discretion. He dismissed Aquarion’s claim that the rate decision was “confiscatory.” He added: “It bears repeating that PURA possesses broad regulatory authority and equally broad discretion in setting rates.” The ruling also held that PURA correctly determined that, to be included as a pro forma adjustment to rate base, expenditures must be found to be prudent, and “used and useful.” Utilities have argued that they need to be able to recover costs of future capital investments. However, PURA says that utilities “may only earn a return on capital assets that are complete and servicing customers” – which the court decision affirmed.


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