HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut leaders have reached deals with Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) to provide relief as customers face increases of as much as 50% in their monthly electric bills.

The customer relief plan will provide immediate relief to low and middle-income families ahead of winter. However, Eversource and UI customers will still see increases in their bills in 2023, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday.

The governor said Eversource and UI will file a motion Monday with Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for approval to establish monthly bill credits to fast-track the return of long-term power contract earnings to all customers starting on Jan. 1, 2023.

If approved, Lamont said this will provide Eversource customers with a monthly bill credit of around $10 per month – approximately 12.5% of the average customer increase this winter – for the peak winter months starting Jan. 1, 2023, and continuing through April.

“I think it’s going to make a real difference in mitigating the high cost of energy and making life a little bit easier for our ratepayers here in Connecticut,” Lamont said.

State officials said that data on how this will impact UI customers are being calculated and is expected to be available soon. 

“Your bill will just automatically be lowered,” said Commissioner Katie Dykes, Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Lamont said an additional $30 million would be put toward the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). He said LIHEAP would provide significant savings to those who make up to $75,000. Eligible families typically receive benefits from $100 to $600 in benefits. 

“Last year we had 92,000 households enrolled in HIHEAP, which was the highest in eight years and we anticipate even more households being enrolled this year,” Said Commissioner Deidre Gifford, Dept. of Social Services.

The two companies will also seek approval for a discount for low-income hardship customers. If approved, a flat-rate credit would be offered to financial hardship customers starting Jan. 1, 2023, until the new PURA-approved low-income discount rate goes into effect in 2024.

On Monday, Lamont said Eversource would give $10 million to Operation Fuel to help low-income families, and UI would give a minimum of $3 million, subject to PURA approval.

Earlier this month, Eversource and UI filed new supply rates with the PURA, citing ongoing global demand for natural gas.

On average, Eversource said its residential electric customers who use 700 kilowatt hours of power each month could see an increase of approximately 48% or $84.85 over their current monthly bill. 

UI said its customers could see an increase of roughly 43% or $79.24 over their current monthly bill.

Unless PURA finds a problem with the plan, Eversource’s proposed standard service rate for its residential customers will change from 12.1 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 24.2 cents per kWh, compared to 11.5 cents per kWh last winter. UI said the rate for its residential customers would rise from 10.62 to 21.94 cents per kWh.

The companies said the new supply rates would be effective from Jan. 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023. The supply rate changes on Jan. 1 and July 1 of each year.

The supply portion of the bill is considered a “pass-through” cost, according to Eversource, which said that the price doesn’t generate a profit for the company. Suppliers generate the electricity, which Eversource then buys and passes to the electric grid. Customers looking for a cheaper rate may select a third-party supplier if they choose.

Need Assistance?

If you need home heating assistance, call 211, or apply to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. Basic benefits toward heating bills range between $410 and $1,015, depending on the household’s income level.

Nearly 52,000 households have already applied for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program this season. Benefits are available for households with incomes up to 60% of the state median income, which is about $75,465 for a family of four.

Eversource can visit Eversource.com/Billhelp to read more about payment options or call 1-800-286-2828 (electric) or 800-438-2278 (gas). 

Eversource will host two webinars to help customers understand their options on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.

United Illuminating also has several programs to help customers who need assistance paying their bills. Customers can visit the UI website or call (800) 722-5584 for more information.+

Operation Fuel Assistance provides emergency energy and utility assistance to those facing acing financial crisis. Call (860) 243-2345 or visit https://operationfuel.org/gethelp/.

Connecticut residents can compare energy prices at EnergizeCT and sign up with an alternative energy supplier.

Unite CT offers heating assistance for tenants and landlords. Eligible renters with overdue or unpaid electricity bills can receive funding for their Eversource or UI accounts.