Connecticut utility companies offer assistance for customers struggling to pay high bills

Last year both UI and Eversource warned customers an increase was coming, and it would be noticed in the coming new year.

News 12 Staff

Feb 24, 2023, 12:53 AM

Updated 450 days ago


Customers are starting to receive their first utility bill of the year, and some are seeing the jump to be bigger than anticipated. Power companies Thursday provided assistance workshops to those seeking help.
Some United Illuminating customers are feeling relief after meeting with UI representatives at The Baldwin Center Thursday. They explained why customers' bills may have gone up and what they can do to help them.
Last year, both UI and Eversource warned customers an increase was coming, and it would be noticed in the coming new year.
The utility companies say the rise is due to demand and the high cost of natural gas, therefore impacting supply prices paid to generators for producing the power customers use.
"Here in New England, we rely heavily on the price of natural gas to generate electricity and unfortunately, that price has been passed along to we, the buyer for Eversource customers," said Mitch Gross, with Eversource.
But they also say they understand times are hard and that's why they're providing many avenues to help, including Thursday night's workshop.
United Illuminating and Southern Connecticut Natural Gas met with struggling customers to discuss payment plans and programs they are eligible for.
One customer traveled from Shelton, and, after a one-on-one session, she says she is feeling more hopeful.
"Oh, I think it's going to help sooner than I expected it to help. What they're offering, it's going to cut it down a lot," said the customer, who did not want to provide her name.
That customer was able to qualify for the Match Payment Program, which means whatever she pays, the company will match.
UI representatives also discussed other plans and programs, such as, bill forgiveness, winter protection and flexible payment arrangement.
"Now until June we have a low-income discount credit. Customers can qualify for if they qualify for some of the program in a financial hardship designation," said Tracey Pelella, vice president of UI customer service.
That's what Dolly Curtis qualified for, who says her latest bill was higher but not a drastic amount, so any bit helps.
"Yes, it's small but it's still something and it's every month for six months," said Curtis.
Both UI and Eversource plan to offer more of these workshops in the future.

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