On Jan. 4 2023, an article published by Payless Power, a Texas based electricity company, reported that Connecticut has the second highest average monthly electric bill in the country, surpassed only by Hawaii. Gathering data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration describing residential and commercial power costs, Payless Power showed that Connecticut ranks in the top five states in both sectors for power costs.
“Many Americans are struggling financially, and all signs point to more challenging times ahead. But the greatest financial concerns among our survey respondents were being unable to pay their utility or electric bills (76%) and their rent or mortgage payments (70%),” Payless Power said, citing a survey done by the organization.
CT Insider provided a similar analysis, stating that Connecticut residents pay more in total for their electric bills due to the combination of high costs per kilowatt hour and more frequent electrical usage compared to other states such as California and Massachusetts, who have higher prices per kilowatt hour but consume less electricity.
The increase is in part due to higher prices for natural gas, the fuel source for the power plants of Eversource and United Illuminating, which provide half of the state’s electricity. In an article from NBC Connecticut, 56% of Connecticut’s energy is generated through natural gas, with 38% coming from nuclear power plants and as little as 4% from solar and biomass power.
“During an online forum this week convened by the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority, Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, questioned why a utility the size of Eversource does not wield more pricing leverage in procuring the power that goes over its lines. Duff contrasted Eversource’s costs with those of Avangrid subsidiary United Illuminating and members of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, which includes South Norwalk Electric and Water and the Norwalk Third Taxing District,” CT Insider reported.
The Daily Campus reached out to University of Connecticut Eversource Energy for context, but they provided no comment.
According to the CT Mirror, part of the price increase is from before 2022. The Comprehensive Energy System program in 2012 incentivized residents to move to natural gas, but did not see an appropriate expansion of pipeline infrastructure. As a result, electricity costs have slowly risen, exacerbated in 2022 by inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While very little gas in the United States is purchased from Russia, several countries around the world were very dependent upon Russian natural gas, resulting in a rapid transition period to new sources of power generation which led to higher gas prices domestically. According to the Center for American Progress, these prices have been eased by President Biden’s use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.