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Study: Conn. electric bills highest in continental U.S.

  • Jan 19, 2023
The Darien Times

Connecticut trails only Hawaii for the highest electricity bills in the country, according to a new study, as state legislators undertake a fresh analysis of system costs while factoring in the need for reliability.

Connecticut's average household shelled out $2,077 to cover the power bill over 12 months through last September, according to estimates by Ownerly analyzing data from the Energy Information Administration. No other Northeast state cracked the 10 with the highest annual bills.

While Connecticut ranked fourth for electric costs as calculated by the price per kilowatt hour, Massachusetts and California have lighter monthly electric consumption on average, resulting in lower bills on average than in Connecticut. And Rhode Island electric customers saw among the smallest increases in the nation last year on their electric bills on average.

Connecticut and Massachusetts have launched a joint initiative to find ways to reduce power costs. ISO New England runs the market for the wider region that sets prices for electricity produced by power plants.

In 2019, Connecticut approved new power purchase agreements with Dominion's Millstone Power Station in Waterford, whose two nuclear reactors supply more than a fifth of New England's electricity.

But roughly half of New England's power is generated through the burning of natural gas to fire turbines. With the cost of natural gas increasing last year, higher bills are hitting Connecticut households that purchase electricity through Eversource and United Illuminating due to increased costs for power plants that burn natural gas to power turbines.

During an online forum this week convened by the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority, Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, questioned why a utility the size of Eversource does not wield more pricing leverage in procuring the power that goes over its lines. Duff contrasted Eversource's costs with those of Avangrid subsidiary United Illuminating and members of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, which includes South Norwalk Electric and Water and the Norwalk Third Taxing District.

"Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire all have different kilowatt-hour charges -- but the facts remain, these high costs will be difficult for many to bear," Duff said. "What is the process by which Eversource procures energy, and can it be improved? How do they forecast natural gas and their fuel sources, and are they providing their ratepayers sufficient protections from increases like we have just seen?"

In advance of the hearing, an Eversource spokesperson told CTInsider the company does not control the cost of natural gas and makes no profit on power generation. The spokesperson described as "fully transparent" the procurement of power supplies for customers that pay for power delivered over its lines.

New England achieved an all-time low for grid electricity consumption across multiple days last spring, with an increasing prevalence of solar panels thought to be a contributing factor. But ISO New England warned last year that any prolonged cold snap could force rolling blackouts, given the competing demands for natural gas to fire home furnaces in addition to power turbines.

Only on Jan. 4, ISO New England detailed steps it had taken on Christmas Eve to avoid rolling blackouts, after some 2,150 megawatts of unspecified power generation capacity was no longer available for roughly an hour and a half, including during the 5 p.m. hour when demand peaked on the day. That resulted in an electricity supply "insufficient to meet required operating reserves in addition to satisfying consumer demand," in the words of ISO New England.

ISO New England levied $39 million in penalties on unspecified power generation companies under rules allowing it to do so, with power generators that took up some of the slack to get reimbursed.

Includes prior reporting by Luther Turmelle and Abigail Brone.; @casoulman

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Jan 20, 2023

You can dress it up many ways. But the most likely reason is the extortionate deal agreed to keep Millstone nuclear operating.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 21, 2023

So where do you expect Connecticut to get electrical energy?  Solar? Dismal location for such a resource that is not available at night? Wind? Again, dismal location for erratic wind energy. Natural gas? Requires pipelines from regions with natural gas, but such pipelines cannot be built because states (e.g. New York) blocking the pipelines. Import liquefied natural gas? Extremely expensive, especially with the gas going to the feckless Germans.

Connecticut has put itself into an energy box canyon, with nuclear a small but limited glimmer of hope.

The very high electrical bills are largely the direct result of mindlessly jumping on the green energy bandwagon while not having any viable energy resources.

To be blunt, Connecticut’s high energy costs are directly the result of stunning incompetence on the part of the democrats running the state.

The only viable way out of the self inflicted mess is to important power from Canada and hope the Canadians will not take advantage of the situation. That assumes transmission corridors can be expanded and that requires other states to go along with effort. I’d say that is kind of doubtful.

The economic trajectory of Connecticut appears to be one of industry fleeing to regions with lower costs, with the remaining population being a minority of rich elites and an impoverished majority. 

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Jan 25, 2023

Oh my! Where oh where do you get your information?  

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 26, 2023

I noticed you have not refuted my assessment. Connecticut has no energy resources and has chosen to make importing fuels and energy difficult, as have most of the New England states. Predictably, energy prices are very high.


Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Jan 20, 2023

It's hard to get an exact figure on what Millstone is actually receiving. But the high prices reported for Connecticut make Mark Silverstone's response sound convincing.  The closest freely available information, which mentions hundreds of millions of dollars, is in 


Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 21, 2023

The biggest part of nuclear costs lies with repaying the debt used to build that plants. Given the age of the plants, the debt should have been paid off years ago. The build cost was also not that unreasonable at the time of construction. That would, ostensibly, make the price of energy from the plants pretty reasonable.

However, I strongly suspect the plants were bought and sold a number of times by using excessive new debt and greatly inflated purchase prices. Basically, financial shenanigans.

Mark may have a point.

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Jan 20, 2023

I'm confident the Millstone out-of-market PPA is a contributing factor to these higher prices for CT electric consumers. The CT govt chose this path instead of fixing the ISO-NE Capacity Market to properly compensate Millstone, placing all responsibility on CT's consumers. Self-inflicted wound imposed by the CT State Government.

Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Jan 27, 2023

I don't want to get into a big fight with Michael Keller.  But Connecticut has offshore wind resources, and will get some energy from the Park City project at

The onshore wind resources are described at  To make this energy useful throughout the course of the day, storage mechanisms, especially batteries will have to be developed.  There are pumped storage hydroelectric facilities serving the state, not all located within, as at

Northfield Mountain has environmental problems with fish, granted.  But Connecticut is not South Africa, and if people want to pay the price for emissions-free power, which will be expensive, the lights will not go dark.

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