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Customers complaining about rising electric bills

What are others paying? How can you reduce your costs?

HARTFORD, Conn. — Many of you have contacted us to complain about your electricity bill. 

We're looking into it to get an explanation. We have what some people around the state are paying this month, and some tips on how to reduce your bill.

An Eversource spokesperson said Monday that the major increase, in all customers' electric bills, is largely a result of legislation, put into place last year, when electric providers were instructed to buy power from the Millstone power plant, at a higher rate, to help keep the plant running.

In March 2019, Dominion Energy and the state’s two major electric utility companies reached an agreement to keep the Millstone nuclear power plant complex open for the next decade.

Dominion, which owns the plant, had signaled that Millstone would close in 2023 if a long-term power contract with Eversource and United Illuminating wasn’t reached. The contract is for nine million megawatt hours per year.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said at the time the loss of Millstone “would have been catastrophic for our state and our region,” exposing New England to a nearly 25 percent increase in carbon emissions, increased risk of rolling blackouts and billions in power replacement costs.

He says more than 1,500 jobs were also at risk.

Click here to compare energy suppliers.

Connecticut Public Utility Authority said some of the increase is due to federal charges being passed along to the consumers. "The initial review indicates that the primary drivers of the July 1 rate increases are a 1.18 cent/kWh increase in the federally-regulated transmission rates, which are a strict pass-through, and a 1.46 cent/kWh increase in the non-bypassable, federally mandated congestion charge (NBFMCC). The NMFMCC is comprised of a number of components, including costs related to the 10 year power purchase agreements recently entered into between the Millstone power plant and the state’s electric utilities.

Eversource has also added charges to offset costs to improve outdated infrastructure and clean up from previous years storm damage.

United Illuminating, whose customers have also experienced a spike, says the hot summer, combined with people being at home more, due to COVID-19, are the primary culprits.

We asked some of you what you were billed last month. Here’s what you had to say.

Name                   Town                    Supply                  Delivery

Gary                     Southbury          $57                       $128

Brenda Lee           n/a                      $118                      $209

Steve                    Bloomfield         $44.99                  $81.21

Kiara                      n/a                     $81.99                  $136.73

Ruth                     Southbury           $50                       $100

Linda                   n/a                             $75.79                  $156.28

Debbie                 Newington          $150.80                 $264.65

Tammy                 Prospect              $326.51                $427.48

Michael                Waterbury            $69.55                  $129.79

Darren                 Berlin                    $273.29                $444.55

Kathy                  n/a                        $66.56                   $124.61

Joe                     n/a                         $85                        $148

RELATED: Connecticut lawmakers call out Eversource after hefty rate increase

RELATED: Who to call if you lose power in Connecticut

RELATED: Utility Companies and planters brace for possible severe weather

21 tips to save money on your electric bill from BC Hydro, a publicly owned power company in British Columbia, Canada.

1. Turn off unnecessary lights

Two 100-watt incandescent bulbs switched off an extra two hours per day could save you $15 over a year. Better yet, switch to LED.

2. Use natural light

A single south-facing window can illuminate 20 to 100 times its area. Turning off one 60-watt bulb for four hours a day is a $9 saving over a year.

3. Use task lighting

Turn off ceiling lights and use table lamps, track lighting and under-counter lights in work and hobby areas as well as in kitchens.

4. Take shorter showers

Hot water is expensive. If two people in your home cut their shower time by a minute each, you could save $30 over a year.

5. Turn water off when shaving, washing hands, brushing teeth

Reduce your hot water usage by 5% to save about $19.

6. Fix that leaky faucet

Fixing a hot water leak in your faucet can save up to $9 per year in energy costs. Learn how to fix that leak.

7. Unplug unused electronics

Standby power can account for 10% of an average household's annual electricity use. Unplug unused electronics and save $50 a year.

8. Ditch the desktop computer

If you're still using that old desktop, recycle it and switch to your laptop. If you use your laptop two hours per day, you'll save $4 over a year.

9. Not home? Turn off the air conditioner

Turn off that old window unit air conditioner for five hours a day while you're away. Do that for 60 days over a summer and you'll save $16.

10. Recycle or donate that old TV

Recycle or donate your old T.V.. Even if you're just using it an hour a day, that 42-inch LCD is costing you six bucks a year.

11. Manage your thermostat

If you have electric heat, lower your thermostat by two degrees to save 5% on your heating bill. Lowering it five degrees could save 10%.

12. Be strategic with window coverings

Promote airflow through your home and block the afternoon sun. You could save you up to $10 (2 fans) or $45 (1 window unit AC) during the summer.

13. Reduce heat in the kitchen

Avoid using the oven in summer – try salads, smoothies or barbecue. You'll reduce the heat in your home and save on your home cooling costs.

14. Run full loads

Cut one load of wash per week, even if you're already using cold water only, and you could save $18 a year on your laundry costs.

15. Wash laundry in cold

By switching from hot to cold water for an average of three loads per week, you could save up to $22 per year on your energy bill

16. Hang dry your laundry

If you do eight loads of laundry a week and use your clothesline for 50% of those clothes, you could save $65 a year

17. Toss a towel in the dryer

A dry towel added to your dryer load can significantly reduce drying times. If you're doing seven loads a week this could save you $27 a year.

18. Be efficient with refrigeration

Keep your fridge and freezer at their ideal temperature. For your fridge this is between 2°C and 3°C and your freezer should be at -18°C.

19. Unplug your second fridge

Unplug that second fridge and save up to $55 a year. Freeze plastic jugs of water and use them in a cooler when you need them.

20. Skip the heat-dry setting for the dishwasher

That heat-dry setting is expensive. De-select it and, based on one load of dishes a day, save up to $27 for the year.

21. Use the microwave, crock pot or toaster oven

A microwave takes 15 minutes to do the same job as 1 hour in an oven. Use a microwave instead of your oven 4 times a week and save $13/year.

 

 

Help with paying your bill

Earlier this year, PURA mandated that the utilities begin offering a COVID-19 Payment Program for both residential and non-residential customers impacted by the public health emergency. PURA-regulated electric, gas and water utilities must offer these payment programs that: 

· Are available to any customer requesting financial assistance – utilities are prohibited from requiring a demonstration of financial need prior to enrolling a customer in the COVID-19 Payment Program; 

· Require no initial or down payment; 

· Have durations of up to twenty-four (24) months; 

· Waive any fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount; and 

Facilitate the repayment of the past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill