From the office of State Senator Kevin Witkos:
With October already here, and the winter months not far behind, we begin to think about our heating bills again. To ensure that you and your family are prepared for the increasing energy costs, I wanted to highlight some energy assistance tips and cost saving measures and programs you might be eligible for.
To begin, I encourage you and your family members to go online and visit the CT Energy Info website at www.ctenergyinfo.com. Or, call 1 877 WISE USE (877-947-3873) to speak directly with an energy professional – during business hours. CT Energy Info is a one-stop-shop for Connecticut residents seeking complete information on ways to reduce energy costs and consumption, ways to protect the environment through clean energy, and even ways to promote economic development.
CT Energy Info also houses informational tips on how children can get involved. You can find an energy action plan with simple ways your kids can save energy at home – turning off your computers or using energy saving light bulbs. There is also information about renewable energy and links for teachers and educators to promote the importance of green energy in our classrooms.
A great, simple cost savings for eligible homes and businesses are state sales tax exemptions and federal tax credits. The State of Connecticut offers a sales tax exemption for energy efficient products including: windows and doors; caulking; programmable thermostats; fluorescent light bulbs; furnaces and A/C systems; and water heaters. For extended information about state tax credits, you can visit the state Department of Revenue Services website at www.ct.gov/drs.
The federal government offers tax credits for 10% of the cost – up to $500 – on the purchase and installation of products provided they meet certain energy efficiency requirements. Eligible products include: windows and doors; insulation; furnaces and A/C systems; water heaters; and roofing. Go online and visit the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov for complete information.
For families looking for home heating assistance, the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and the Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP) are programs that provide monetary assistance for citizens struggling to pay heating bills. For eligibility information, contact the state Department of Social Services at 1‑800‑842‑1132 or www.ct.gov/dss.
Another program, Operation Fuel, is a non-profit organization that provides heating assistance to families who do not qualify for government assistance. You must exhaust benefits under CEAP or CHAP before receiving benefits under Operation Fuel. To apply, call infoline at 2-1-1.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that you can choose your electric supplier. By changing suppliers, you may be able to lower the electric generation portion of your bill. If you have questions or need help with selecting an electric supplier, call a representative at the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (formerly the Department of Public Utility Control) at 1-800-382-4586.
Again, I encourage you and your family members to visit www.ctenergyinfo.com for information about the programs listed here, and for information about other energy savings tips for your homes, businesses and community.