Connecticut electric utilities, regulators say standard service electric rates to change July 1

Photo of Luther Turmelle
Eversource work crews at the corner of Hales Road and and Greens Farm Road in Westport in 2016.

Eversource work crews at the corner of Hales Road and and Greens Farm Road in Westport in 2016.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

Many electric consumers around Connecticut are set to see an increase in what they pay for their power during the second half of this year.

Customers of The United Illuminating Co. and Eversource Energy who don’t get their electricity from a third party provider will soon see the increase, according to officials with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Eversource Energy’s standard service customers will pay 12.05 cents per kilowatt hour for their electricity for the six-month-period from July 1 to Dec. 31. United Illuminating’s customers will pay 10.62 cents per kilowatt hour for the same period.

For the average Eversource customer using 700 kilowatt hours per month, standard service generation costs went from $49 per month last summer to $80.99 monthly for the first six months of this year and will increase to $84.35 per month over the second half of 2022.

Standard service rates are adjusted twice a year, Jan.1 and July 1, to reflect wholesale electricity market prices. Both utilities procure the electricity for their customers in a process that is overseen by PURA, but they are not allowed to charge anything more than what it costs them to purchase the energy.

UI’s residential standard service customers paid 8.01 cents per kilowatt hour during the second half of 2021 and are currently paying 10.63 cents per kilowatt hour through the end of June, according to data from the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel.

Eversource’s current standard service rate, which took effect Jan. 1, is 11.57 cents per kilowatt hour, according to Mitch Gross, a company spokesman. The rate for the second half of last year was 7 cents, Gross said.

Historically, the price per kilowatt hour has gone down during the summer because natural gas is more widely available during the warmer months, Gross said.

“But with New England’s heavy reliance on natural gas to fuel electricity needs, the continued high global demand for natural gas and rising prices worldwide are also driving increases to electric supply rates here,” he said. “Contributing factors may include, but are not limited to, a continued increase in demand for energy as the economy recovers from the pandemic and prices that were at 10-year lows; constraints on energy supply due to the conflict in Ukraine; and extreme weather events within the last year or so that have impacted gas production in gas-producing states.”

Demand for power historically goes up in the summer, Gross said, because people want to keep their homes cool. Demand for electricity by Eversource customers increases between 25 to 35 percent during the summer, he said.

“We know there is never a welcome time for news of higher prices and work with our customers every day to find payment assistance programs, energy efficiency solutions or other options to help,” he said.

Both utilities offer budget billing where a fixed price per month is charged based on a customer’s historical usage. Eversource and UI also offer time varying rates that provide customers with lower charges for use during off-peak time periods before noon and after 8 p.m.

The headline of this story has been corrected to reflect that not all customers will see an increase.