It's been a little over a week since the state announced that Eversource customers would be getting money back for the slow response to Isaias. However, electric heating costs will go up this January anyway.
“It is a complicated mess talking about regulation,” Gov. Ned Lamont says.
The state has control over only a part of electricity rates.
“There’s nothing that the settlement or PURA’s decision on that matter could have done to address the generation rates we’re seeing today. It’s a totally separate piece,” Marissa Gillett, chairwoman of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, says.
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Gillett says there’s nothing they can do to lower generation rates in a deregulated marketplace.
“We made some good investments that will stabilize our rates going forward. And that’s why our rates are going up less than in neighboring states,” Lamont says.
Lamont says electricity prices are going up this winter, but there’s not much the state can do about it. Most electricity is produced with natural gas which has increased in price.
A spokesperson with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said Eversource customers could see costs go up by around $31 a month. United Illuminating customers will see an average increase of $18 a month.
Hackett says rates are adjusted twice a year.
“We really urge people to go to EnergizeCT or to call their utility and sign up for a home energy solutions audit,” Hackett says.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes says “this is certainly an increase customers are going to feel but this increase in standard service rates is not as high as we’ve seen in past winters.”
Lamont acknowledged it will be of little comfort to those struggling to keep on the lights.
“It’s been a tough year and a half in this state and we’re confronted by the headlines, brownouts, spikes in energy prices, you know 30 to 40% increase all at the same time the middle class feels like it’s really getting slammed,” he says.
"It’s a total global situation right now where the energy markets are out of whack.
Acting Consumer Counsel Richard Sobolewski says Eversource and United Illuminating ratepayers are going to see an increase.
"These are very significant and a lot of it has to do with the price of natural gas. The price of oil and other energy products," Sobolewski says.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated lower cost increases for Eversource and UI customers. DEEP has since corrected these figures, which are reflected above.