The Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel recently called for the end of electricity choice in Connecticut. The OCC says electricity choice doesn’t save money. Retailers say you can save. But what’s the reality?
We’ll give you both sides of the argument. We’ll tell you why Connecticut electricity rates are so high. And we’ll tell you whether you can save on your United Illuminating or Eversource bill when you switch suppliers.
Can I Save Money By Shopping for Electricity in Connecticut?
Can you save money by shopping for electricity in Connecticut? It depends.
In Connecticut, your electricity rate from the utility is the standard service offer (SSO). The utility updates these rates on January 1st and July 1st of each year. Sometimes the rates go up (typically in January – June). Sometimes the rates go down (typically in July – December). Your supplier can’t tell you if you will be saving on your electricity by switching. Because they don’t know what the utility rates will be 6 months from now or a year from now.
And that’s the key. Neither do you.
So switching your electricity provider in Connecticut isn’t so much about saving money as it is making a decision to lock in a fixed rate and avoid the utility rate see-saw. A competitive provider can give you price certainty. That’s something you can’t get from your Connecticut utility company.
United Illuminating Standard Service Rates
|United Illuminating Rate Class||January 1 - June 30, 2022
|Rate RT Peak||13.2310¢|
|Rate RT Off-Peak||9.7310¢|
Best United Illuminating Residential Energy Rates from Alternative Suppliers
|XOOM Energy||RescueLock 12||12||12.69 ¢||Details|
|XOOM Energy||SureLock 12||12||12.69 ¢||Details|
|Constellation||36 Month Home Power Plan||36||12.69 ¢||Details|
|Direct Energy||Live Brighter 30||7||13.89 ¢||Details|
|Direct Energy||Live Brighter 36||36||14.69 ¢||Details|
And here’s the Eversource standard service offer rate — and sample offers you can switch to now.
Eversource CT Standard Service Rates
|Eversource Rate Class||January 1 - June 30, 2022
Generation Supply Rates ¢/kWh
|Rate 7 On-Peak||14.115¢|
|Rate 7 Off-Peak||10.615¢|
Best CT Eversource Residential Energy Rates from Alternative Suppliers
|Constellation||36 Month Home Power Plan||36||12.99 ¢||Details|
|Direct Energy||Live Brighter 30||30||13.89 ¢||Details|
|Direct Energy||Live Brighter 36||36||14.59 ¢||Details|
|Direct Energy||Live Brighter 18||18||15.49 ¢||Details|
|XOOM Energy||SureLock 12||12||15.99 ¢||Details|
Shop CT Electric Rates & Plans Near You
How to Avoid Getting Ripped off on Electricity in Connecticut
But here’s the reality.
Door to door sales pitches and telemarketing calls have one thing in common — a split second decision based only on the information that the sales agent has provided you.
You don’t know that person. You don’t know if they are telling you the truth. Maybe they are leaving out some details.
Plus door to door sales has a history of targeting lower income, densely populated neighborhoods. And, door to door sales offers are seldom the least expensive offers in the market. (These realities of door to door sales are possibly what led to the OCC conclusion).
The better bet is to do your research. Look at your electricity bill. Understand your usage. Understand capacity, your ICAP tag and how it impacts your bill. Understand that the standard service offer rate from your utility will change twice a year.
And, if you are on a low income customer, a senior citizen or have access to a discount program with the local utility, stay on it. These discounts give you a much lower price than the Standard Service Offer rate, and are likely lower than you can get from a supplier
The best way to compare electricity rates is by using a comparison site like ElectricityPlans.com. We make it easy to compare Connecticut electricity rates. We only feature plans from the most reputable providers. We watch out for tiered rate plans and hidden fees for you. And we break down every plan into an easy to understand chart format, like the one below.
What Drives High Electricity Costs in Connecticut
Connecticut residents pay among the highest electricity rate per kilowatt-hour in the country, according to the EIA.
Here are some of the underlying issues that drive high electricity prices in Connecticut, compared to the rest of the country.
- Renewable Portfolio Standards. Connecticut has mandated by 2030, 48% of electricity sold in the state needs to come from renewable resources. Renewable generation tend to be more expensive than power produced from other sources.
- Reliance on Natural Gas. 49% of electricity generated in the New England region is from natural gas-fired power plants. This supports Connecticut’s goal to generate electricity with lower carbon emissions. However, it also ties electricity generation to volatile natural gas costs.
- Power Line Congestion. Because the demand for electricity in Connecticut has grown faster than the state’s electric infrastructure in recent years, the transmission system became increasingly congested. This congestion decreases the physical efficiency of the transmission lines, which increases the cost of power.
- Capacity Charges. With limited electricity generation (power plants) in the New England Area, you also pay for “capacity.” Capacity is the capital cost of power plants and the investment needed in transmission lines to deliver electricity. Capacity fees help incent companies to build more power plants in CT and the New England area.
How Utility Rates are Set in Connecticut
Your cost of generation supply from Eversource or United Illuminating is based on the cost of fuel to generate electricity, and the cost of supply contracts that they can secure. PURA, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Agency, oversees the rate setting process for the Standard Service Offer (SSO) or utility default rate, to ensure that consumers pay a fair price.
The SSO changes every 6 months, on January 1 and July 1. Utilities announce new SSO rates in CT 7 weeks before rates are effective, in mid-May and Mid-November. You can find a history of SSO rates online on the PURA site.
How to Get the Best Deal on Electricity in Connecticut
We spend a lot of time thinking about and writing about electricity (which, you can imagine, makes us fun at neighborhood pot-lucks.)
We even wrote an article called, How to Shop for an Electric Supplier in Connecticut. In it, you’ll find basic vocabulary, whether or not you have electricity choice in your area, and what to look for in a supplier. You’ll also find tips on lowering your ICAP tag.
Here’s a quick summary on how to shop:
- Understand your usage
- Know your current rate
- Manage your ICAP tag by conserving energy
- Read the details on electricity offers
- Shop electricity plans online at ElectricityPlans.com rather than buying from a door to door sales person
- If you are on a low-income discount program, don’t switch to a competitive supplier
Will Electricity Choice End in Connecticut?
It’s very unlikely that electricity choice will end in Connecticut.
What’s more likely is that there will be a lot of discussion, and likely an outcome of additional regulations on retailer behavior. We’ll monitor and provide regular updates!