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Lamont launches ‘energy action plan’ in effort to provide rate relief

The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program is getting a big boost of federal and state funding to help Connecticut residents.

CONNECTICUT, USA — If you’ve glanced at your utility bills this month you’ve probably had sticker shock. With both natural gas and electricity on the rise, people are having to make tough choices. On Wednesday, stakeholders gathered at the state capitol to talk about short and long-term relief.

Gov. Ned Lamont is deploying what he calls his energy action plan. Basically, it uses state and federal dollars to boost funding for energy assistance programs in the short term. Longer term, it focuses on ways to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and expand renewable energy.

“It’s outrageous,” remarked Jim Mills of Wolcott on energy prices. “We don’t need this. I have no idea what the reason is. It’s never been explained to me in a satisfactory way. Something has to happen here.”

So what’s being done? The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program or CEAP is getting a big boost of federal and state funding to help you.

“We will be able to meet the needs of over 100,000 families in CT who are seeking energy assistance," said the nominee for Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, Andrea Barton Reeves.  

That translates to a maximum benefit of about $2,300 to help pay the heating bills of eligible residents.

Everyone is also getting a $10 credit on their energy bill thanks to an extension of the nuclear-generated power contract at Millstone.

 “Perhaps we will negotiate a continuation of that beyond 2029,” said Lamont.

In the long term, the state's plan is to focus on more affordable, renewable energy like wind.

“Believe it or not we are the Texas of wind power,” said Lamont. “We have good, consistent, reliable wind offshore.”

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Gov. Lamont then remarked on hydro-power. 

“Getting hydropower from Canada right down to our region and what that means,” said Lamont. He is currently in talks with regional governors about how this can be accomplished. “We are going to be weaning our way off natural gas and oil but it’s going to take a while,” said Lamont.

Not everybody buys the clean, green promise. 

“You have to ask yourself if all the renewables are really giving you what they are promising. Are they giving us a green, clean environment? I just don’t know,” Tim Roy of Bristol said.

Right now, Connecticut has the second most expensive energy rates in the nation. There are a lot of reasons for it including the region’s over-reliance on foreign sources of natural gas and pipeline delivery constraints.

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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