(WTNH) – Eversource’s CEO is calling on President Joe Biden to address concerns about electric reliability in New England this winter.
While Eversource has been working on ramping up investments in clean energy sources, New England remains dependent on natural gas to meet its power needs, especially during the winter, and for the foreseeable future.
Electric and oil companies say the rise in costs started when Russia invaded Ukraine back in February. Eversource told News 8 that a potential 40% bill increase is out of their control as the supply of oil gets tighter.
“I am deeply concerned about the potentially severe impact a winter energy shortfall would have on the people and businesses in this region,” said Joseph Nolan, Jr., CEO of Eversource.
According to Nolan, ISO-New England, which is the region’s electricity grid operator, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have acknowledged for many months that New England will not have sufficient natural gas to meet power supply needs for the region in the event of a severe cold spell this winter.
“I respectfully urge you, Mr. President, to employ the emergency powers of the federal government to take all steps to ensure that adequate fuel resources will be available in the event of severe weather conditions in New England this winter,” Nolan said in the letter.
“The pressure is on everybody,” said Chris Herb, CEMA President. “There’s no running away from what we’re all experiencing.”
Eversource said if their 4.2 million customers haven’t seen higher bills yet, they will soon.
“Between twenty and thirty to forty percent,” Nolan said.
There is help. The state offers assistance as well as Operation Fuel, which uses a grant to help approved applications with direct bill payments.
Over the summer, Operation Fuel received over 4,000 requests, which is more than double what they typically serve. Executive Director Brenda Watson said, “What we do know is that the price of home energy is out of reach for the people we serve and continues to be along with the prices of basic needs in general.”
The Connecticut Energy Marketer’s Association is also feeling the heat when it comes to oil.
“We sell diesel at our gas stations and our members are obviously big consumers of diesel,” Herb said. “When our customers suffer, we suffer right along with them.
Eversource and CEMA say there are simple things you can do to lower your bill like using LED lights, keeping furniture off vents, and making sure windows and doors are properly insulated.
Eversource officials have not heard back from the White House yet.