Energy Costs Continue to Strain Connecticut Consumers

Utility prices from Eversource and United Illuminating were expected to increase starting in January and even with the mild winter, home heating oil costs are also putting a strain on both consumers and local suppliers.

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“We’re at the mercy of the utilities, there’s not really much we can do,” said Dave Cartell of Cromwell.

With January coming to an end, Middlefield's Ed Tulinski is bracing for his first electricity bill of the year – the first since Eversource and United Illuminating raised their prices.

“I’m prepared to be staggered, let me put it that way,” he said.

Tulinski said based on the price hike, he’s ready to investigate other options.

For John Rudolph, who lives in Berlin, he’s already received the bill, and wasn’t too happy.

“My electric bill was twice as much as it was the month before and it hasn’t been a terrible winter,” Rudolph said.

As for home heating oil, you might think warmer temperatures would help lower expenses, but for some, that hasn’t been the case.

“It’s outrageous,” said Katelynn Street of Berlin. “It went from $300 to $500.”

While oil prices have remained high, the mild winter has helped reduce demand, but high prices doesn’t necessarily mean oil delivery companies are winning out.

“Everybody thinks the price of oil is high, I make more money – no, I make less. I want the oil to be half the price of what it is now,” said Gino Pulvirenti, owner of Patriot Discount Oil in Middletown.

It’s put a strain on both sides, and this season, Pulvirenti said the number of his customers using state assistance programs has nearly doubled.

“Operation Fuel, the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program are still available, they’re funded, and for any reason you’re struggling, you should really reach out to them to find out if you’re eligible for a little bit of help,” said Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.

Herb said average oil prices have decreased about $1.50 per gallon compared to where things were in November, but that geopolitical events continue to keep them higher than previous years.

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