Submitted by State. Sen. Norm Needleman
(December 1, 2022) — The state legislature recently took action regarding the gasoline tax and assistance with higher energy costs. Below is a summary of the financial relief bill that will provide $200 million in savings and benefits to state residents:
- Retain the state’s gasoline tax holiday through Spring 2023, which has saved residents 25 cents per gallon of fuel purchased since April 1 of this year. The gasoline tax holiday will be phased out in a gradual fashion over that period of time, a necessity to retain funding for state transportation projects. It will remain at a full 25 cents off per gallon until January 1, 2023; each month from there, the gas tax savings will be reduced by 5 cents. That means savings will be 20 cents per gallon in January; 15 cents per gallon in February; 10 cents per gallon in March; and 5 cents per gallon in April.
- Invest an additional $30 million in the state’s Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program. It will bolster $97 million in state and federal aid already dedicated to supporting Connecticut residents struggling with heating costs. With significant rate increase proposals likely increasing financial burdens for many this winter, the allocation is vitally needed.
- Keep free bus fare available to state residents through March 31, 2023. Residents relying on public transportation are saving up to $3 every time they take a bus.
- Allocating an additional $75 million to the state’s pandemic worker bonus fund, which will pay out bonuses of up to $1,000 to more than 130,000 residents who worked in essential in-person roles from 2020 to 2021 during the pandemic.
- Governor Lamont and leaders of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Office of Consumer Counsel have announced an agreement with Eversource and United Illuminating on a short-term Customer Relief Plan, providing aid to electricity customers amid expected high costs this winter.
- The two utility companies will file a motion with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority seeking approval to fast-track the establishment of bill credits. These credits would provide Eversource customers with monthly bill credits of around $10 per month from January to April. UI is still calculating savings for its customers.
- The companies will seek approval for a discount for low-income hardship customers to accelerate the provision of the Take Back Out Grid Act enabling a low-income discount rate. Financial hardship customers will receive flat-rate credits beginning in January 2023 until a new low-income discount rate goes into effect in 2024.
- Eversource will include a shareholder expense of $10 million for energy assistance to customers in need including moderate and middle-income customers.
- UI will pay $3 million to Operation Fuel for direct assistance for electricity and heating costs.