by Kimberly James
Connecticut residents will see an increase in their electricity bills beginning in July.
The Public Utility Regulatory Authority has approved a rare summer electricity rate increase for both residential and business customers, effective July 1 through Dec. 31.
“Summer typically means lower rates for electric customers as decreased demand for natural gas, which is higher in the winter, subsides,” Chris Herb, president of Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, told The Center Square. “Connecticut typically sees increases in electric rates in January when homeowners increase their usage of natural gas for heating, but with natural gas prices at a 13-year high heading into the summer it is showing up in the price people pay for electricity.”
Herb said the increase in price of natural gas is driving up electricity prices that have more than doubled this year and are lower than normal inventory.
“Since natural gas is used to generate approximately 60% of the electricity we use, the price of electricity is following that trend.”
According to WFSB, PURA has said there’s not much they can do; they receive the most competitive rate they can from the wholesale market, but ultimately, they do not set the price.
Herb said the over-reliance on natural gas to generate electricity has set the stage for the rise in prices.
“Connecticut and the region should look to diversify the fuels used to generate electricity to help shield consumers from any one source of energy having such a large influence on the ultimate price that is charged for power,” Herb said. “Using a “basket” of fuels to generate electricity would spread the price risk over multiple sources mitigating a price spike like we are experiencing with natural gas.”
Eversource customers could see a nearly 4% increase in their bills. Those needing assistance can sign up for payment plans and energy efficiency programs.
“Homeowners on a fixed income will be impacted by what are already the highest electric rates in the lower 48 states, and if they need help paying their bills they should contact 211 which will help determine what programs they may be eligible for,” Herb said.
Operation Fuels and UniteCT are organizations that may be able to help.
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