HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont reminds residents about energy assistance services that are available in the state for those who need help keeping their homes and families warm this winter.

“Here in Connecticut, we have many available services to protect vulnerable households from the cold each year, including safeguarding those who have fallen behind on their utility heating hills to avoid the risk of a shutoff,” Gov. Lamont said. “I urge residents who may need help to apply to get them through spring.”

“This winter, we are able to help more residents with higher home-heating benefits than ever before through the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program,” state Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said.

“Applications are now open for both homeowners and renters, and over 33,000 households have been approved for benefits so far by our Community Action Agency partners.”

Energy assistance programs available in Connecticut include the following.

Administered by the state Department of Social Services, the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, provides winter heating cost assistance to more than 75,000 income-eligible households every year, regardless of their heat source.

People should contact their local Community Action Agency to apply. Statewide consumer and application information is available on the web at www.ct.gov/staywarm or by calling 2-1-1.

CEAP has significantly higher benefit levels from a record $135 million in federal funding to help heat Connecticut homes. Both homeowners and renters can be eligible.

CEAP helps enrollees afford the cost of natural gas and electric heat, as well as deliverable fuels like oil and propane.

Operation Fuel and other nonprofits provide year-round emergency energy assistance to low-to-moderate-income households that don’t qualify for CEAP or who run out of CEAP benefits. Information is available at operationfuel.org.

The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has directed all regulated electric, gas and water utilities in the state to offer Covid-19 payment plans, which both residential and non-residential customers are eligible to enroll in through the end of the public health emergency declaration.

Covid-19 payment plans are available to any customer requesting financial assistance to facilitate the repayment of past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill.

These plans require no initial or down payment or demonstration of financial need; can be up to 24 months in length; and waive any fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount.

Customers can receive information on these payment plans by contacting their utility companies.

Established by Gov. Lamont and administered by the state Department of Housing, UniteCT provides rental and utility assistance funding for those financially impacted by Covid-19. UniteCT has become a model for other states by successfully delivering more than $18 million to electric customers to date to help pay down their arrearages (back bills).

Connecticut residents who rent their homes can apply through their electric utility company or municipal electric company. For more information, visit portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT.

From November 1 through May 1, there is a moratorium in Connecticut on heating source shut-offs for eligible households. Customers should contact their utility and inquire about the Winter Protection Program, as well as other programs for which they may be eligible.

More information is available from 2-1-1 by visiting uwc.211ct.org/winter-protection-winter-moratorium/.

Energize CT can help customers save money on energy bills by providing advice, information and financial incentives to make homes more energy efficient. For more information, visit energizect.com.

Over the past decade, Connecticut has enacted a series of consumer protections for customers of electric suppliers, including prohibiting variable rates and giving PURA the discretion to prevent customers who were designated as “utility hardship” from being switched to electric suppliers.

This year, Gov. Lamont signed Public Act 21-117, which prohibits cancellation fees for residential customers who are under contract with an electric supplier and strengthens PURA’s oversight over electric suppliers.

For further guidance on energy assistance programs available in Connecticut, customers can call 2-1-1.

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