Budget Crisis Leads to Proposed Electric Bill Changes

Part of what ratepayers spend on monthly electric bills could soon change because of Connecticut’s budget problem.

Both the Republican and Democratic bills want to take part of what ratepayers pay toward the Clean Energy Fund, listed as Combined Benefit Charges under Delivery Fees and divert it to the general fund.

“That is a specific fund, there for a specific use,” said Taren O’Connor, who works for the Office of Consumer Counsel and chairs the Energy Efficiency Board. “It’s to allow the Green Bank to offer programs and services in the renewable energy space, and the clean air space.”

O’Connor explains that the average ratepayer, who uses 750 kWh per month, spends about eight to 10 dollars per year towards the Green Bank. That money helps it finance projects and grants towards things like solar.

“That’s not fair for that money to then be spent on things like pensions,” O’Connor said.

The GOP bill proposes transferring a total of $26 million to the general fund over the next two years.

“You still have $13 million, that’s a lot of money,” said GOP President Pro Tempore Len Fasano. “You can still do a lot of things, but when it comes to cutting care for kids or cutting medical stuff, we are going to opt to say, ‘Look, let’s just put a hold on this for two years.’”

Democrats proposed charging ratepayers double, keeping some of it with the Clean Energy Fund and transferring more than $30 million.

“What we’re looking to do is to have a balanced revenue structure that will put the state in balance,” said Democratic President Pro Tempore Martin Looney. “Something that was necessary to do.”

If the measure is implemented in the state’s final spending plan, ratepayers might not know by looking at their bill how much of their money will go to the general fund instead of toward clean energy.

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