HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut reached an agreement with United Illuminating to provide rebates to the electric utility's customers as part of the state's COVID-19 relief efforts.

The state's second-largest electricity distributer agreed to offer credits totaling $46.5 million and to keep base distribution rates unchanged until at least 2023, the governor's office announced Wednesday.

The deal is subject to review and approval by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

The agreement calls for UI to contribute $5 million and the accelerated return to customers $41.55 million in savings the company enjoyed from federal tax cuts.

The money is designed to offset 5% to 8% increases in bills expected on May 1, 2021, due to federally-mandated transmission charges and the costs of the Millstone power purchase agreement, the governor's office said.

“For families and businesses who have been struggling with high energy costs during the pandemic, this agreement promises more affordable, predictable rates,” Governor Lamont said.

UI serves about 335,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas.

The state is also talking to Eversource, which has about four million customers.

"It makes such a difference to have corporate leadership firmly committed to Connecticut, Attorney General William Tong said. Eversource, the ball is in your court now.”

In other coronavirus related news:


Quinnipiac University announced that it plans to hold outdoor commencement ceremonies in May for both the class of 2021 and the class of 2020, which had its in-person commencement postponed because of the pandemic.

University President Judy Olian said students will be allowed to bring two guests to each commencement.

The 2021 ceremonies are planned for the weekend of May 8 on the Quad of the Mount Carmel Campus. The 2020 ceremonies are planned in the same location for the weekend of May 15.

Students who wish to attend the 2020 ceremonies are asked to register my March 20.