Parties agree: Energy costs hurting residents

Connecticut residents are facing rising energy costs, and Republican and Democratic lawmakers have proposed contrasting plans to deal with the spike.

In a press release, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is allowing all participating households that heat with deliverable fuels, such as heating oil, to receive additional crisis assistance. This has a benefit worth $439 this winter season. The additional benefit means those families can now access up to $2,320 per household to help pay their heating bills, the press release said.

According to the plan, the long-term strategy to improve energy affordability is building a cleaner, affordable, and reliable energy supply. This includes offshore wind, hydropower and nuclear.

Connecticut Republican leaders also have put forth a package of policy proposals aimed at reducing the cost of electric bills and making energy more affordable over the long term. 

In a press release, Senate and House Republicans said their policies "will reduce energy costs for CT families by over $362 million per year, saving the average household over $210 next year. In the long run, the plan will drive down costs by even more and implement important ratepayer protections against utilities."

GOP officials said their legislative proposals will: "Make energy more affordable and reliable, by reducing costs immediately as well as expanding and encouraging reliable and affordable generation over the long term" and by ensuring "strong oversight of utility companies to protect the best interest of ratepayers."

"Connecticut is one of the most unaffordable states to live in, embodied by its second-highest in the nation utility costs," North Haven state representative Dave Yaccarino said. "This proposal attacks the issue head-on and lays a framework for how the legislature can make serious progress reducing the financial burden on ratepayers across the state in the short-term, with additional long-term savings."

Deputy Republican Leader Paul Cicarella (North Haven) said, "Families and businesses across our district, and the state, are hurting. This month’s utility rate hike has put most Connecticut residents in an even larger hole when it comes to affording necessities. This is a viable plan that would immediately reduce costs to ratepayers and give them a stronger voice at the table. I encourage all of my colleagues to join me to help the thousands of struggling people in the state."

In the press release laying out the Senate and House GOP plan to lower energy costs, House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (North Branford) said, “Wagging a finger at utility companies to grandstand for ratepayers when their frustration understandably boils over is a singular path that produces very little. We instead need an integrated approach that not only introduces systemic change to reduce monthly bills, but one that also examines to what extent residents’ financial stress is fueled by energy policy and goals adopted by the legislature and state agency bureaucrats.” 

Since the start of the year, steep increases in energy supply rates have resulted in bigger bills for Eversource and United Illuminating customers.

On Nov. 17, 2022, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong released a statement on the supply rate increase.

“Our supply rates always fluctuate between winter and summer, but this is not normal," Tong said. "We are seeing a huge global spike in gas costs due to the war in Ukraine and Russian manipulation of gas supplies.” 


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