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Energy bill relief event aims to help connect customers with assistance programs

A rate increase from the utility companies and rising costs of oil and natural gas are putting a strain on people's wallets.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Skyrocketing energy bills have left many people searching for any way to get some relief.

"It’s ridiculous when the bill comes it’s so high," said Vincent Hatten of Hartford. "I’ve got to work a little harder to make ends meet."

A rate hike that took effect at the beginning of this year, means Eversource and United Illuminating customers are paying about $80 more a month if not even more than that.

Plus rising oil and natural gas prices on top of higher prices seemingly everywhere else.

"My rent went up, now the electricity went up, now the gas went up so everything is going up but the money’s not going up," said Andre Roberson of East Hartford.

Dozens of people looking for help getting their bills down attended a bill help event at the Parker Memorial Community Center in Hartford on Wednesday evening to get some one-on-one advice.

"To spend that individual time with those customers who want help with their account and actually getting enrolled in the assistance program that suits them best," said Jared Lawrence, senior vice president and chief customer officer for Eversource.

Officials with Eversource and Avangrid, the parent company of Connecticut Natural Gas and United Illuminating, said their goal with the event was to connect people with whatever assistance suits them best.

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"Energy efficiency is an important aspect as well. So if you don’t necessarily qualify for some of the programs we have available then they could seek assistance through energy efficiency and help drag those bills down," said Tracey Pelella, vice president of customer service, Avangrid.

Both companies have also announced monthly credits for qualifying customers as a form of relief.

$25 for income-eligible Eversource customers. A $10 credit for all United Illuminating customers, and $24 for those who meet certain criteria.

For people who are struggling to keep up help can’t come soon enough.

"Being on a fixed income like I am and the only income coming in my household it’s very important," said Johnny Johnson of Hartford. "To make sure that my utilities are in check, to make sure that I’m covered for the winter and hopefully for the year. I just don’t want my services to be disconnected for any reason," he said.

There are other bill-help events coming up in the next few weeks.


Waterbury- New Opportunities Inc. 232 North Elm Street, Waterbury, CT

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 

2 p.m.- 6 p.m.

United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas:

Bridgeport- East Side Senior Center, 268 Putnam Street, Bridgeport, CT

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

4 p.m.- 7 p.m.

New Haven- St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 111 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, CT

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

4 p.m.- 7 p.m.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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