Rhode Island

Governor Lamont, Commissioner Dykes, Consumer Counsel Coleman Statements on Eversource and United Illuminating Supply Rate Increases

press releases

Governor Ned Lamont

11/17/2022

Statements by Governor Lamont, Commissioner Dykes and Consumer Advisor Coleman to increase Eversource and United Illuminating supply rate

(HARTFORD, CT) – Gov. Ned Lamont, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes, and Consumer Advisor Claire Coleman released the following statements in response to new Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) service prices effective January 1, 2023: the filed with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) today:

said Governor Lamont, “This is unwelcome news at the end of a year that has been challenging for so many in our state. In the coming days, I will call the General Assembly into a special session to pass legislation focused on relieving Connecticut residents, including ensuring that our energy assistance program is adequately funded at least at last year’s levels so that power and Heating can be supported oil costs. I’m disappointed that electric utilities are enjoying historic gains while power generation rates are rising and customers are experiencing economic hardship, and I challenge UI and Eversource to come to the table with solutions that recognize their investors and executives can and should support their customers , as we work together on long-term solutions that free us from the volatility of global fossil fuel markets. While it may be small consolation, we are in a similar position to other New England states, and we have mitigated the felt impact thanks to proactive actions by our government. I want residents to know that there are programs for those who need help paying their utility bills this winter, including our energy efficiency programs, which we have continued to fund and have additional resources to help those most in need.”

said Commissioner Dykes, “The state has taken several measures to protect local residents from situations like this, which is why we have kept Millstone Power Station online to provide a cheap, reliable and carbon-free power source online that generates net profits that are returned to Eversource and UI customers . Because of this, we employ strategic power procurement practices and the governor has continued to fund our energy efficiency programs. Because of this, the state is also working hard to diversify its energy mix and has continued past and ongoing procurements for clean energy resources such as solar and offshore wind power, which will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels over time.”

This was announced by consumer adviser Coleman, “Like all Connecticut residents, I am deeply concerned about the impact that the rising electricity prices announced today will have on consumers’ ability to pay their utility bills. Customers are now faced with asking prices that have doubled, while at the same time struggling with higher costs for heating, groceries and other necessities. This is the result of a global energy crisis that requires a government-wide response, and I thank Governor Lamont for calling the Legislature to a special session to consider the cost of electricity. While state and federal funding is vital, I’m hopeful that Eversource and United Illuminating will consider sharing some of their recent healthy gains with customers to help get them through the winter. I can assure Connecticut consumers that I will actively work with state and federal leaders to provide Connecticut residents with the support they need to pay their electric and heating bills, because no one should have to worry about it how to stay warm or leave the lights on this winter.”

background

Eversource and UI today submitted to PURA their new tariffs for the standard service that is part of the residential electricity bill. The new standard utility rates will roughly double, meaning total residential utility electricity rates in Connecticut will increase approximately 40% over current rates and over last winter. Upon approval by PURA, these new tariffs will come into effect on January 1, 2023 for the first six months of the year.

As of January 1, 2023, all-in Connecticut residential electricity rates ($0.35/kWh) for both Eversource and UI are in the same range as most utilities in New England, including New Hampshire ($0.33 $/kWh to $0.39/kWh) and Rhode Island ($0.29/kWh). Only Maine ($0.24/kWh to $0.28/kWh) and Vermont* ($0.18/kWh) are lower. Meanwhile, National Grid and Unitil customers in Massachusetts pay more than 40% higher rates than Connecticut at $0.48/kWh and $0.42/kWh (Note: Electricity rates change seasonally and in different periods for each utility; these numbers are subject to change).

Historically, Connecticut has typically had the highest, or near the highest, electricity rates in New England and the continental United States. Connecticut’s strategic power policy enacted in recent years has helped counteract this trend and hedge the impact of these new increases in standard services.

To keep prices lower and less volatile, Connecticut has taken the following actions:

  • Securing a deal with Millstone, which has generated significant net profits (approximately $128 million between January and April 2022** alone) that will be directly reimbursed to UI and Eversource customers. As of September 1, 2022, the average residential customer saw a $9.78/month and $7.72/month reduction in Eversource and UI electricity bills, respectively.
  • Helping customers install efficiency improvements and weather protections in their homes to reduce their energy bills, including increasing EnergizeCT efficiency programs by $3.5 million at the direction of Gov. Lamont this summer. (For more information on government energy efficiency programs, go to energizect.com.)
  • Spread Eversource and UI purchases of power for standard services over time to minimize the impact of price spikes and volatility in power markets.
  • Passed Public Law 20-5, known as the “Take Back Our Grid Act”. This legislation increased accountability among Connecticut’s utilities by introducing a performance-based incentive system that ensures their revenues and profits are tied to good performance while allowing PURA to introduce low income and economic development rates.
    • PURA is currently in the process of implementing a performance-based tariff structure.
    • On October 19, 2022, PURA released its final decision to introduce a low-income rebate rate, where eligible customers will receive either a 10% or 50% rebate on their utility bills based on their total household income beginning in January 2024.
  • A number of protections for electricity utility customers have been enacted over the past decade, including a ban on variable tariffs and granting PURA discretionary powers to prevent customers deemed “utility hardeners” from switching to electricity utilities, as well as a ban on Cancellation fees for residential customers who are under contract with an electricity supplier and strengthening PURA’s oversight of electricity suppliers. As a result, Connecticut has some of the toughest consumer protection laws in the country regarding competitive residential electricity supply.

To help customers struggling with these lower and less volatile prices, Connecticut also has:

  • Support with the heating bill for households entitled to an income. That Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services, provides winter heating assistance to income-eligible households regardless of their heat source. People should contact their local Community Action Agency to apply. Nationwide consumer information about this program is available on the web at www.ct.gov/staywarm or by phone 2-1-1. The Connecticut congressional delegation recently successfully supported a $1 billion increase in federal funding for energy assistance programs, raising Connecticut an additional $19 million. In addition, Operation Fuel and other nonprofit organizations provide year-round emergency energy assistance to low- to middle-income households that do not qualify for CEAP or are running out of CEAP benefits.
  • At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PURA instructed electric and gas utilities to suspend all service terminations for non-payment. While the moratorium has now been lifted for certain customer groups, it currently still applies to private customers who are in financial hardship and to customers who are medically insured due to a serious illness.
  • In 2021-22, the Connecticut Department of Housing instituted the UniteCT program, which provided up to 12 months and/or $15,000 in rental assistance and up to 12 months of backlog electricity assistance to Connecticut households affected by the COVID-19 -pandemic were financially affected with an income of up to 80% of the region’s median income. UniteCT has provided $48.9 million in supply support.

Visit for more information on available resources for residents needing help with high energy bills ct.gov/heatinghelp.

*Vermont is a vertically integrated system and procures electricity through long-term contracts, so Vermont rates tend to be static over time.
**Given the energy prices of the past few months, Millstone’s profitability trend has continued between April and October, but concrete figures are not yet released.

Twitter: @GovNedLamont

Facebook: Office of Governor Ned Lamont


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