Connecticut Authority to Increase Garbage Fees to Cover Enron Losses

Hartford, Conn. -- The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA), the state's regional waste authority, will raise its services fees to municipalities by 30 percent to recoup $220 million that it lost in a deal with the now-bankrupt Houston-based Enron Corp.

In a deal last March, CRRA gave Enron $220 million, and Enron agreed to pay the authority $26.4 million per year, or $2.2 million per month, for power from a Hartford energy plant that Enron would sell on the open market. But Enron stopped paying CRRA in December following its bankruptcy. The state attorney general also has called the deal an illegal, unsecured loan to Enron.

The increase also includes a $20 per ton recycling fee. Municipalities currently do not pay a recycling fee.

A higher tipping fee may be reduced as early as July 1 if CRRA sells power generated at the plant or refinances its bonds.

Not surprisingly, the decision has been unpopular in Hartford and in several other municipalities that send solid waste to the plant. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said he plans to meet with municipal officials to urge the CRRA to lessen the fee increase.