Matching payment, winter protection, bill forgiveness programs available for customers
As a result of the ongoing global energy crisis and associated price increases, United Illuminating today is encouraging its customers to explore the assistance programs available through the company, including payment plans, winter protection, and bill forgiveness for those that qualify.
“We understand that the unprecedented state of the global energy market is having real, burdensome impacts on the everyday lives of families across Connecticut, so we are focused on making sure UI customers are aware of, and prepared for, these rising supply costs and understand the programs we have to help,” said Frank Reynolds, President & CEO of UI. “Any UI customer that is having trouble paying their electric bill, or is concerned about their ability to do so in the coming months, should not hesitate to call us. Above all, we are here to help our customers, and are committed to making sure everyone is aware of the tools available, including payment plans, arrearage management programs, and other resources that can help customers manage their energy use and reduce the impact to their bill.”
United Illuminating is anticipating that the Standard Service price for UI residential customers will rise from 10.62 to 21.94 cents per Kilowatt Hour (kWh) beginning January 1, 2023 – a bill increase impact 43%, or average monthly increase of $79 for the typical UI residential customer. The Standard Service price is the cost of energy used by ratepayers, and purchased by UI on their behalf without any markup or profit. Energy prices across the globe have increased, especially natural gas – the primary fuel in New England – due to supply chain constraints, high inflation, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. UI serves as a pass-through mechanism for the recovery of these costs and does not profit form them in any way.
To help customers manage increase supply costs, UI is reminding those having difficulty paying their bill of the following programs the company offers to provide assistance and relief:
- Matching Payment Program – Residential customers covered by the Winter Protection Program and who heat by electricity may qualify for UI’s Matching Payment Program. If you qualify, we will work with you to develop a monthly budget agreement. If you keep that agreement, we will match your payments to reduce your back balance.
- Bill Forgiveness Program – This program helps low-income customers maintain year-round service and pay down delinquent balances by company-matched dollars. A payment arrangement plan helps qualified hardship customers pay past-due electric bills. Under BFP, if payments are current, a past-due balance can be "forgiven" over time.
- Winter Protection Program – UI offers winter protection to all our customers that qualify. If you meet eligibility requirements, we will not turn off your electricity between November 1 and May 1. The Winter Protection Plan must be renewed annually, beginning in October. To prevent your service from being shut off after May 1, contact UI to set up a payment arrangement.
- Flexible Payment Arrangements – UI will work with customers if they are having trouble paying their electric bill. UI offers flexible payment arrangements for all customers needing assistance. These arrangements can be spread out up to 18 months for residential customers and 6 months for non-residential customers. Current payment arrangements may be renegotiated due to a change in financial circumstances Per Conn. Agencies Reg. § 16-3-100(b)(3)(A). These arrangements may be discussed confidentially by calling our Customer Care Center at 800.722.5584.
- Called to Active Duty? – Customers may qualify for temporary suspension of collections action and disconnection of their electric service if they are called into active duty in the U.S. military.
- Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) – Through the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, United Illuminating administers the HES-IE program. This weatherization program is designed to help customers with limited income or financial needs reduce their energy bills.
For more information on financial assistance programs offered by UI, please visit the UI website or call (800) 722-5584. For more information on Home Energy Solutions visit the UI website or call (877) 947-3873.
Though many customers are on the UI Standard Service rate, some customers elect to purchase electricity directly from, independent suppliers. Customers are encouraged to review their bill to make sure they know who their supplier of choice is, and the end date of their service. Customers can visit https://energizect.com/rate-board/choosing-a-supplier to compare prices.
UI is also reminding residents of simple actions they can take to help make their home as efficient as possible and reduce the impact of rising supply costs on their energy bill.
- Install wall-outlet and switch-plate gaskets to reduce the flow of cold air.
- Install storm windows, or purchase window insulator kits to reduce drafts.
- Be sure your home’s insulation meets U.S. Department of Energy specifications for your geographic area, and that ceilings, walls, and floors over unfinished crawl spaces are all properly insulated.
- Insulate hot water pipes.
- Install storm doors to reduce heat transfer to the outside.
Heating & Cooling
- Have your heating equipment periodically checked by a service professional.
- Dust or vacuum radiator surfaces and vents frequently and keep them unobstructed.
- Keep insulated drapes or shades closed in summer and open on sunny winter days. Close curtains or drapes on winter nights to reduce heat loss.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use to keep heated or cooled air from escaping up the chimney.
- Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree above 68º F can use 3% more energy.
- Open windows in spring and fall rather than using air conditioning.
- Install programmable or wi-fi thermostat to automatically control heating and cooling.
- Clean or replace furnace filters periodically, and have your furnace burner checked and cleaned annually.
- Use ceiling or portable fans in place of room air conditioners whenever possible.
- If you use electric heat, consider replacing it with a high efficiency ductless heat pump system, which can cut electricity use by as much as 50 percent.
About UI: The United Illuminating Company (UI) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1899, UI operates approximately 3,600 miles of electric distribution lines and 138 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 341,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. UI received the Edison Electric Institute’s Emergency Response Award in 2019 and 2021. For more information, visit www.uinet.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.