A dire situation ay occur in that thousands of Connecticut families are facing utility service shutoff notices this summer for high and unpaid energy bills. The problem is caused because most of Connecticut’s lower income households won’t be receiving a utility bill rate discount.
A law that supports Operation Fuel, which is a private, nonprofit statewide energy bill assistance program that provides emergency energy bill assistance to the elderly, lower-income families, elderly as well as disabled individuals who are in a financial crisis and not are eligible for, or have used up, all other state and federal government benefits. The law was not passed this year.
The only New England state without a discounted utility rate is Connecticut. Most states that have adopted such discounted utility bill rates have seen their overall rate and expenses stabilize as their utility companies experienced a reduction in working capital expenses, collection expenses, and uncollectable debt and bills.
“It boggles my mind that Connecticut is the only state without a discounted rate,” Wrice said. “All the experts are saying this is the way to go.”
In 2008, over 200,000 lower-income families in Connecticut experienced an average home-energy affordability gap of more than $2,000 per household for a total affordability gap in their utility bills of $510 million. The definition of the home-energy affordability gap is the monetary difference between what a household can afford to pay and what they actuality owe their utility or gas company for energy bills. Due to this ever-growing affordability gap, both low- and moderate- income households are constantly facing a growing number of unpaid utility bills and they eventually risk losing their energy and utility services.