Governor Ned Lamont has announced the availability of up to $2,320 per household in energy assistance funding to help Connecticut residents pay their heating bills. The additional money is available through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP).
Approximately $20 million of the funding for this utility assistance will come from a Congressional spending package. The State American Rescue Plan Act will account for an additional $30 million in CEAP funding.
There are a variety of different benefits available to Connecticut residents through CEAP that can help offset the high cost of utility bills. Basic benefits start at $250 per household and total benefits could go as high as $2,320 per household. The amount that you could receive will be based on your total household income, along with other eligibility factors.
If you are eligible for energy assistance funding, CEAP will pay the money directly to your fuel supplier or utility company. To determine your eligibility for these funds and to apply, go to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) website.
How big a problem are high utility bills in Connecticut?
A huge problem. Connecticut consistently ranks among the most expensive states for utility costs. According to a 2022 nationwide research report, the average utility bill in the United States comes to $328 a month.
The average Connecticut utility bill is about 25 percent higher, coming in at $411 a month. However, that amount does not take into account the anticipated 2023 utility bill increases. So, the actual amount Connecticut ratepayers will be charged could be much higher going forward.
What’s causing this uptick in energy prices?
Utility company officials cite the war in Ukraine as a major factor in recent spikes in utility charges. In response to Western sanctions, Russia has throttled back the amount of natural gas it supplies to European countries.
This drop in supply, combined with a high global demand, has pushed natural gas prices upward. Natural gas is needed for electricity generation, so this increases electricity costs as well.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says there are few options for replacing natural gas for electricity generation. Because of this, the EIA anticipates natural gas prices will remain high until production increases sometime in 2023.
What can Connecticut utility customers expect in 2023?
This video from Fox61 reports on how rate hikes from utility companies Eversource Energy and United Illuminating will send customer electricity bills soaring in 2023. Some Connecticut customers may see their bills double in the coming months:
What do you think about Governor Lamont’s efforts to assist residents with the high cost of utility bills?
Will it be enough? Are there other things both the utility companies and the government should be doing to assist ratepayers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
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