Connecticut Proposes Heating Fuel Fees for Conservation

The Hartford Courant reports that state officials are proposing that the 44% of Connecticut households that use fuel oil and propane for home heating be charged an additional energy conservation fee. Robert Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, told the newspaper that the amount of the proposed fee has yet to be determined. He said money generated from such charges would be put into a special fund to pay for energy conservation and efficiency programs.

Mary Sotos, deputy commissioner for energy, said Connecticut electricity and natural gas customers are currently charged a small monthly fee to help pay for energy conservation programs. She added that the small additional cost for fueloil and propane customers would be more than offset by savings achieved on heating costs through participation in state efficiency programs.

However, the Courant notes that one problem with such energy conservation funds is that, in times of state budget crisis, lawmakers often “swept up” the money in the funds to help solve deficit problems. Both Democrats and Republicans this year have proposed taking energy conservation funds to aid the effort to close a $2.3-billion budget gap.

The proposal for charging fuel oil and propane customers an energy conservation fee is part of the state’s effort to encourage homeowners to make home heating system improvements. A key strategy is a proposal to expand the use of renewable energy so it will represent 30% of Connecticut energy usage by 2030. The current goal is to have renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower account for 20% of state energy use by 2020.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter®, Aug. 7, 2017, subscribe at BPNews.com)