Despite Connecticut electricity customers continuing to pay nearly the highest electric bills in the U.S.--and an average 8% higher in just the last year--lawmakers are considering a number of bills that would add hundreds of millions more to customer’s bills.
For example, HB 6838 requires electric distribution companies (United Illuminating and Eversource) to buy more renewable energy credits associated with residential solar installations.
These costs, which some have estimated at several millions of dollars, would have to be paid by their customers.
Therefore, UI and Eversource customers would not only continue to pay millions to subsidize the installation of solar panels, but also pay hundreds of millions more to cover the cost of the renewable energy credits associated with those solar installations.
Another bill (SB 570) would raise the portion of customers’ bills that is based on energy usage.
All customers pay a fixed fee each month to support energy infrastructure—such as power line and substation maintenance. The remainder of the bill (about 87%) is based on the amount of electricity used by the customer.
Reducing and capping the fixed fee will shift more of the electric bill to energy usage. For many residents that have already taken energy conservation and efficiency measures, their bills will have nowhere to go but up.
And for businesses, especially manufacturers, with large energy needs, SB 570 could cost them hundreds or thousands of additional dollars in energy costs each month–thereby making Connecticut an even less competitive place to do business than it already is.
Encouraging the use of a broad range of renewable power–not just solar, is a worthy goal.
But doing so on the backs of the vast majority of electricity customers and especially our manufacturing sector, is a very poor policy choice for Connecticut. We are already a national leader in energy efficiency, conservation and renewable power.
Legislators need to focus their attention on lowering customers’ electric bills and thereby making our state more affordable and competitive.