Today, on what may prove to be the hottest day of the year, Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) and Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a press conference at the Manchester Senior Center to announce a 5% bill reduction for all Connecticut Light & Power electric customers. They also outlined additional ways in which energy reform passed this year will help to reduce electric bills going forward, and lower air conditioning costs.
As they spoke, air conditioners across Connecticut were running on their highest settings, and the heat index was predicted to top 115 degrees.
"With today's extremely hot weather, air conditioners will be cranking, and seniors' electric bills will be going up. Fortunately, we eliminated an electric bill surcharge in the state budget this year which will amount to a 5% savings for the average household or business, for a total $113 million in savings statewide. That should help significantly," said Senator Cassano. "We also passed major energy reform this year, which will revamp our state's approach to energy policy, and help lower electric costs even further over the coming months."
"Connecticut consumers pay among the highest energy costs in the nation, which is why we are taking an aggressive approach to overhauling statewide energy policy," said Governor Malloy. "Legislation signed into law this year represents a new, strategic path toward reducing costs for families and businesses. Days like today are a good reminder about why we need to have a smart, sustainable, affordable energy policy in our state," said Governor Malloy.
As part of the recently-passed biennial state budget, an electric surcharge on the bills of all Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) customers was eliminated, effective July 1st. This will amount to a 5% total bill reduction for the average business or household, totaling approximately $113 million in savings across the state.
In separate legislation, sweeping energy policy reform was passed this year, seeking to lower Connecticut's energy costs, move the state toward clean energy and create jobs and new businesses. To further lower costs for seniors and homeowners, Public Act 11-80 will:
* Improve electricity contracting and procurement procedures to capture falling natural gas prices for lower rates--for savings in addition to this month's 5% decrease
* Create an Electric Procurement Manager at the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to work with utilities for lower rates
* Direct DEEP to explore options for discounted electric and natural gas rates for struggling families and seniors
* Assist homeowners and businesses with replacement of inefficient, old boilers and furnaces to reduce heating costs in the winter
Empower towns to establish low-rate financing for home energy upgrades, with loans which may be repaid on property tax bills, accounts transferring with property sale (PACE program)
The legislation will also:
* Leverage state and private dollars though a new green bank to invest in clean energy businesses, jobs and projects
* Order a study of electric market rules and determine their effect on higher rates
* Support zero-emission and low-emission electric generation technologies, without picking winners amongst particular technologies
"Extreme summer heat can be particularly dangerous for older Americans. AARP is pleased to join Governor Malloy and Senator Cassano to help raise awareness of this issue and provide seniors and others with important information that can help them stay cool this summer. AARP also was a strong supporter of eliminating the surcharge on electric bills and of sweeping energy reform legislation passed earlier this year. The elimination of the surcharge on electric ratepayers and important new provisions contained in the energy bill will help bring long-awaited rate relief for seniors and others who are struggling to pay their electric bills," said Laura Green, President of the Connecticut AARP.