NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — State officials hosted an energy assistance and policy forum on Tuesday night at the Robbins Welles Library in Newington.
Residents from Newington and surrounding towns had the chance to talk in person with lawmakers and representatives from statewide energy assistance programs.
One person said their bill is up $100 dollars. Another said they waited hours on the phone to get help.
Surprised by how much your energy bill went up? How to switch suppliers
“Rather than hear a bunch of politicians talk about the issue, we wanted to hear from the experts; the folks that consider rate increases, folks in the community that know what we can do on a practical matter to lower people’s rates,” said Sen. Matt Lesser (D).
One of the solutions that were offered is to switch to a third-party supplier through EnergizeCT.com.
Speakers stressed EnergizeCT.com is the only website you should use to shop for suppliers. Other websites may be trying to mislead or scam you.
Marissa Gillett with Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) stressed that state law prohibits these third parties from charging early termination fees.
“You’re not locked in, you can change back to standard service, or you can change to another supplier at any time,” she said.
Representatives from statewide energy assistance programs like the Community Renewal Team (CRT) and Operation Fuel were also at the meeting. If you meet the income requirements, you may qualify for certain discounts.
Elizabeth Vinick with CRT said there’s a backlog in processing applications because the need has been so great this past year. However, she said if someone is at risk of losing heat, they can push applications forward.
“If you are worried about not having heat, call us, email us, write us, come to our offices,” she said.
State Senator Lesser said he knows the backlog is a problem and promised to address it.
“We can’t go another season with this broken system that’s obviously not meeting the needs,” he said.
After the hour and half-meeting, most neighbors left feeling they got the help they needed.
“There are a lot of these programs that I don’t know about,” said Latoya Brown.”So it was nice to know that there are programs out there to help.”