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Here's why electric bills will go up next year

The 21% increase in your electric bill will be about $31 more per bill.

BERLIN, Conn. — From the price of a turkey or Christmas tree to the price you pay to heat your home and keep the lights on. It’s all going up! And unfortunately, people’s paychecks are not nearly as inflated as the economy.

On Tuesday, Eversource reminded customers that in a month from now, electric bills will be increasing by 21% on Jan. 1. The reminder was sent via email to customers.

“Our suppliers - the generators. They are charging more for the natural gas they need and they are passing along the charges to us and we pass it along to our customers. These are pass-through costs. The supply costs, we don’t make any profit. There’s no mark up on this whatsoever,” explained Eversource Spokesman Mitch Gross.

Suppliers use natural gas to generate electricity, so when natural gas goes up, so does electricity.

But people told FOX61 the explanation is less important than the solution.

“Very disappointed because they are just looking to take more margin than they actually need for their fixed costs,” remarked Raymond Finocchio.

“My paycheck is not going up, and if I’m feeling this much of a pinch, people with a lot less to maneuver with are feeling the same pinch,” Cooper Davis of West Hartford said.

“With the economy in the shape it is, it’s time that all these companies take a look at the poor consumer. These numbers are just too unrealistic,” Finocchio added.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) points energy customers to hardship assistance programs like Unite CT and the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. They can help you pay your bill.

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The COVID-19 payment program can also help you spread out those bills. “(It) gives you up to 24 months to pay with no interest, no late fees and as long as you are enrolled in that program, your service can’t be terminated,” explained Marissa Gillett, the Chair of the PURA.

And while your delivery cost is fixed, utility customers do have the option to shop for their electric supplier at Energize CT to get the best rate you can.

“Yes, you have the option to shop. If you decide to go with a third-party supplier, we always recommend that you really study the contract and the terms and know exactly what you are signing for before you decide to sign on that dotted line,” explained Mitch Gross.

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Gross also explained a common question they get from customers who are often confused why the delivery portion of their utility bill can be twice as much as the supply they are using.

“The delivery charge is made up of several fees and charges that reflect Eversource’s costs to serve customers. It includes costs associated with our “transmission” system, which moves power large distances at high voltages from power plants to customers’ homes or businesses, and costs of maintaining and modernizing the local network of poles, wires and other equipment to a customer’s location. It also includes costs the company is required to include by state policymakers for initiatives like Energize CT energy efficiency programs, and the costs of buying power from third-party renewable energy producers, and more recently, the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant.

"The supply and delivery charges are inter-related—the more energy a customer uses, the higher both the supply and delivery portions of the bill will be,
” explained Gross.

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The 21% increase in your electric bill will be about $31 more per bill. Customers who use natural gas to heat their home could also see that bill go up about 20% and by about 40% if you heat with oil.

If there’s any good news, it’s that typically the rates that go up in January will drop again in July. PURA told FOX61 they are also working in the new year to make customer utility bills easier to read so that people understand what they are being charged for and why.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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