Utility giant Eversource has been in the hot seat this past month, first for issuing unexpectedly high electric bills in July, and soon after, for its slower-than-desired response to an 800,000-customer power outage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias. Perhaps due to its sudden public relations emergency, Eversource hasn’t sought to draw much attention to an approximately $500-million plan it filed with state regulators on July 31 — days before Isaias struck the state — to install 1.2 million smart meters across Connecticut. The proposal, if approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), would further increase consumer and business electricity rates — by about $214 million over the first five years. Marissa Gillett, PURA’s chairman, who has spearheaded the agency’s grid-modernization review since Gov. Ned Lamont hired her last year, said smart electricity meters located in homes and commercial buildings can be a foundational technology that ultimately benefits ratepayers, utilities and the environment. But Gillett said she’s cognizant of the timing of the Eversource proposal, which, even if PURA determines is worthwhile, would increase rates in a state already known for having some of the most expensive electricity prices in the country.