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Struggling to heat your home this winter? State offers more help

The cost of heating is so expensive, the Connecticut Department of Social Services said applications for state assistance are up 27% over last winter.

John Craven

Jan 11, 2023, 10:23 PM

Updated 526 days ago

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With electricity, heating oil prices and electricity rates at record highs, Connecticut is seeing a huge spike in applications for assistance. On Wednesday, state leaders announced even more help is available – thanks to the new federal budget.
"I've been really, really nervous, because the cost of everything has gone up," said Tasha Joe, of Hamden.
The cost of heating is so expensive, the Connecticut Department of Social Services said applications for state assistance are up 27% over last winter.
"People should not be forced to choose between heating and eating," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
Heating oil customers can now get a $430 "crisis benefit." Along with basic assistance, households can get up to $2,320. But that's still far below last year's $4,825 amount.
DSS commissioner Andrea Barton Reeves estimated approximately 100,000 families qualify for help.
"That's definitely something I would look into," said Joe.
Connecticut can offer the extra assistance because of at least $20 million in funding from the new federal budget, passed last month.
In addition, Eversource and United Illuminating customers are getting a $10 per month credit between now and April. It's meant to offset a major spike  in the supply charge part of your bill.
Longer term, Connecticut is working to bring electricity prices down. In a few weeks, Gov. Ned Lamont is meeting with other New England states about importing hydro-electric power from Canada. But that will require building new transmission lines across Vermont and Massachusetts at a cost of up to $1.5 billion, according to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner Katie Dykes.
Dykes said the federal government could pick up half the cost.
"There's some real possibilities out there," said Lamont. "They tried New Hampshire, Vermont – or New Hampshire and Maine. Vermont is stepping up. Under Lake Champlain is another possibility."
Lamont also met with Dominion Energy this week about keeping the critical Millstone nuclear power plant open beyond 2029, when the current agreement expires.
Republicans said the state should chip in more dollars to home heating assistance. They promised to release their own proposal to bring down energy costs in the coming days.
"We cannot be content with what has been done in the past, we need further action," said state Senate GOP leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford). "Good ideas find friends, and we hope that our ideas will be welcomed by our colleagues on both sides of the aisle."
But for now, customers like Charles Brown of Norwalk said they need the extra help.
"You got the application now?" he asked.
Click here to apply. 
You can also apply to Operation Fuel for assistance.


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