Hartford Energy Burden Study Update
In the fall of 2021, Sierra Club Connecticut’s Ready for 100 Hartford campaign partnered with Trinity College's Action Lab to research the Energy Burden within Hartford, CT. We’ve written a summary of Trinity College's Energy Burden report here: Energy Burden Report Summary. Since the beginning of this year, I have presented the new data that was gathered from the Energy Burden report at Trinity College's Action Lab to the state's EEB (Energy Efficiency Board).
There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to the information in this report, and with partners in the community we’ve identified some immediate steps that will help ease energy burden. The steps include:
Creating a Discount Rate for Low-Income Residents. Low income customers are particularly vulnerable to high energy prices. Compared to other households, they experience a higher energy burden. Connecticut should establish a low-income discount rate to reduce the cost of electricity and gas utilities for qualified low-income customers. See “Addressing Energy Burden in Connecticut” for more information on the docket currently before PURA to create a low-income discount rate.
Ending Costly Reconnection Fees. When residents struggling to pay electricity bills fall behind, utility companies shut off power and then charge outrageous reconnection fees – as high as $400 – to turn it back on. Reconnection fees are unnecessary penalties on people already struggling to pay their bills.
Prioritizing Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Programs for the Most Energy Burdened, Low-Income & Energy Insecure Residents. Energy efficiency and 100% renewable energy programs help reduce energy use and increase energy independence. These programs should go to those that are struggling the most: energy burdened, low-income, energy insecure residents.
Add your name to the list of supporters for these steps to make energy more affordable and clean for low-income Connecticut residents.
Thank you for your support. We will keep you posted with more details of what's happening.
Alycia Jenkins is Sierra Club Connecticut’s Ready for 100 Organizer