Governor Lamont Introduces Energy Action Plan Highlighting Help With Energy Affordability
Federal and State Actions To Help Families and Businesses in the Short and Long-Term
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced a comprehensive statewide strategy funded by federal and state dollars to provide energy assistance to Connecticut residents in the short-term and improve affordability and reliability in the long-term.
Late last month, Governor Lamont announced the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) will allow all participating households that heat with deliverable fuels, such as home heating oil, to receive an additional crisis assistance benefit worth $430 this winter season, above the amount they were already able to receive. Coupled with the existing basic benefit and crisis assistance benefits, the additional benefit means those families can now access up to $2,320 per household to help pay their heating bills.
The additional benefit is funded thanks to an additional $20 million secured for CEAP in a Congressional omnibus spending package passed late last year and an additional $30 million in State American Rescue Plan Act funding allocated to CEAP by Governor Lamont and the state legislature in November of 2022.
That same month, Governor Lamont and Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman, together with Eversource and United Illuminating, announced a customer relief plan that includes a bill credit returning earnings under the Millstone contract, an accelerated discount for low-income hardship customers, and $13 million in utility-funded assistance programs for low and moderate-income customers including through Operation Fuel, which provides emergency energy assistance to low-to-moderate-income households that don’t qualify for CEAP or who run out of CEAP benefits.
Households interested in seeking assistance through CEAP should apply online at ct.gov/heatinghelp or contact their local community action agency. Additional assistance is available by calling 2-1-1. Those seeking assistance from Operation Fuel should visit operationfuel.org.
The state’s long-term strategy to improve energy affordability and reliability includes:
- Building a cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable energy supply.
- Offshore Wind: To date, Connecticut has contracted for 1,108 MW of offshore wind. Along with other New England states, Connecticut is exploring strategic investments in new transmission to bring this power to shore to power homes and buildings.
- Hydropower: The state is exploring opportunities to build new regional transmission for large-scale hydropower energy from Canada.
- Nuclear: The state’s contracts with the Millstone and Seabrook nuclear facilities prevented premature retirements that would have jeopardized winter grid reliability, increased New England grid emissions by 20%, and cost ratepayers $1.8 billion to replace.
- Other Clean Energy Resources: Since 2012, the state has procured approximately 1 GW of solar, land-based wind and other renewables, of which 433 MW are now operational. Additional procurements of grid-scale storage and renewables (such as solar, small-scale hydropower, and onshore wind) are planned in 2023.
- Building energy efficiency and electrification.
- Connecticut’s energy efficiency and building retrofit programs have a strong track record of success and have been recognized as some of the best in the nation. In 2021, the Conservation and Load Management (C&LM) programs – also known as EnergizeCT programs – generated more than $62 million in savings for Connecticut residents and businesses. The energy-saving investments funded by the 2022-2024 C&LM plan are projected to provide more than $1.7 billion in cumulative benefits.
- The state has multiple building programs focused on enabling or completing weatherization upgrades in homes of income eligible residents, including the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Residential Energy Preparation Services program.
- Together, these programs deliver $800 in services to the average program participant and help them realize $180 to $250 in annual energy bill savings. These programs increase decarbonization and reliability, and advance equity by removing barriers to participation, providing customers with efficient technology, and strengthening workforce development.
- Capitalizing on historic federal funding opportunities.
- The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is leveraging the historic funding opportunities available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act in pursuit of this strategy. Both laws offer opportunities to fund clean energy resources including transmission, and potential tax credits for clean energy production. The Inflation Reduction Act also provides tax credits and rebates for both energy efficiency and electrification upgrades.
Governor Lamont said, “Our mission right now is to ensure that electricity will be reliable and that assistance and relief will be available to residents when they most need it this winter. Thanks to our tremendous Congressional delegation, there is support for the folks who need it most, but subsidies don’t last forever. That’s why I’m also grateful to our delegation for supporting the policies, grants, and tax credits we need to reduce the underlying cost of energy in our state and across the region. Our long-term strategy further diversifies our energy sources by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency to get us off the fossil fuel rollercoaster.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “Everywhere I travel across our state, I hear again and again from people fearful and angry about the crushing cost of home heating bills. This $5 billion for LIHEAP will deliver real relief to Connecticut families when they need it most. No one should ever have to choose between putting food on their table, keeping the lights on, or heating their home, and thanks to this funding, fewer people will face those tough choices this winter.”
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said, “Until we further diversify and clean up the grid, we will remain at the mercy of volatile price swings in the energy market. That’s why, longer-term, the state is employing a strategy that builds on the actions the state has taken to help insulate residents from situations that are driven by external forces, focusing on energy efficiency and clean energy resources. This strategy will better insulate residents from price volatility, increase reliability, and help us meet our greenhouse gas emissions goals.”
Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner-designate Andrea Barton Reeves said, “Last winter, we saw a 27% increase in CEAP enrollments. So far this year, applications for the program are up nearly 23%, and we are anticipating serving over 100,000 households this winter. The extra money allocated to CEAP by Congress, Governor Lamont, and the state legislature will allow the Department of Social Services, community action agencies, and other partners help more Connecticut families stay warm this winter.”
Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), co-chair of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee, said, “It’s clear we need to take action on reducing the burden energy costs represent for Connecticut residents. On the Energy and Technology Committee, we’re exploring every option to improve the grid, and I’m especially encouraged by the governor’s support for hydropower and nuclear energy. I’m looking forward to helping find long-term solutions during this year’s legislative session.”
State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, (D-Westport), co-chair of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee, said, “There is plenty of understandable anger about the rising cost of energy. Programs such as CEAP will help provide immediate relief, and the Energy and Technology Committee will work tirelessly this session to develop meaningful long-term solutions.”