STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — More Connecticut residents will voice their opinions Thursday night about a proposed rate hike by Connecticut Light & Power.

Another public hearing will be held on the plan in Stamford on Thursday night, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

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CL&P, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, is seeking permission from regulators to raise both its fixed and usage rates.

The utility says about $117 million would pay for new and stronger poles, wires, transformers and substation upgrades. Another $89.5 million is to repair damage from storms in 2011 and 2012, and $25.3 million is to protect equipment from future storms.

Under the plan, the fixed monthly residential service charge would climb from $16 to $25.50 — a 56 percent hike.

“A lot of people are very upset about the fixed charge, saying they’re having a hard time managing their bills already,” Rich Sobolewski of the Office of Consumer Counsel told Schneidau.

Sobolewski said complaints are being heard mainly from elderly people with modest fixed incomes.

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“They have high medical bills,” he said. “They have other costs. And even a $10 increase in the total bill, that’s just very hard to stomach.”

If approved, the higher rates averaging another $150 a year could take effect as early as Dec. 1.

Consumer advocates have also argued the increase would threaten efforts to conserve electricity.

“Before you turn on a single light in your home, your bill will go up $115 a year,” John Erlingheuser of the AARP told Schneidau earlier this week.

“It puts older people and disabled people in a very bad position because they may be in a position to try to conserve more when it won’t actually help, and could put their health and safety at risk,” he added.

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