Democrat officials in Connecticut, the state’s electric power giants, and their allies in the media are blaming a 50 percent increase in state electric prices this winter on Russia’s war with Ukraine, a reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, and the fact that Connecticut has a deregulated electricity market.
In a press release, dated November 17, state Attorney General William Tong (D) announced that, effective January 1, Eversource will double its rates from 12.05 cents to 24.2 cents per kWh, and United Illuminating will also double its rates from 10.6 cents to 22.5 cents per kWh.
“This is a massive increase that will be unaffordable for many Connecticut families and businesses,” Tong stated in what appears to be an attempt to sympathize with Connecticut families and businesses who are already among the highest taxed in the nation under Democrat policies.
“We pay far too much for our energy in Connecticut as it is, and these winter rates are nothing short of punishing,” the attorney general continued, adding that his efforts to curb the increase have failed.
“We have next to no ability to challenge these supply rates, which is frustrating,” Tong lamented, then provided his explanation of the problem:
We are seeing a huge global spike in gas costs due to the war in Ukraine and Russian manipulation of gas supplies. Both as a country and a state, we need to take a hard look at our energy sources and reduce our reliance on sources like natural gas that produce these wild, unaffordable surges in rates.
“Much of the reason for those costs has to do with the region’s reliance on natural gas to fuel its power plants, along with a limited supply of cheaper, renewable alternatives such as hydroelectric or solar power,” echoed Hearst media, citing Democrat state Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), chair of the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee.
“As we’ve gotten more reliant on natural gas in New England, we are at the end of a pipeline that has significant limitations,” Needleman told Hearst.
The media outlet added both Eversource and United Illuminating blamed “the global spike in natural gas prices caused by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine,” and reported as well the massive increase Connecticut families and businesses will be paying this winter “come from the costs that distributors pay to purchase electricity from power generators and pass along to consumers at-cost under Connecticut’s de-regulated electricity market.”
Columnist for the Journal Inquirer Chris Powell noted the attempt to blame the state’s deregulation of the electricity market 24 years ago, a decision that ultimately restricted the electric utilities to distribution, rather than power generation:
Since then electricity users are supposed to do their own purchasing of power from generation companies, which route their power into the distribution system. People who don’t want to purchase their own electricity still can have their utility buy it for them, but the utilities just go into the market themselves to purchase the power and pass the cost along to their customers. The utilities don’t set electricity prices and make no money from them.
“This system was enacted to inject price competition into power generation, but politicians and customers alike still like to blame the utilities for price increases,” Powell wrote. “So the new controversy invites another reform – prohibiting the utilities from doing even the default buying for customers and requiring customers to do their own purchasing.”
As he suggests, many Connecticut residents trained in government dependence have resisted the opportunity to purchase their own energy plans, leaving their utility company to make the purchase for them. When they pay higher prices, they blame the utilities, and then likely vote for more Democrats, who are blaming the utilities as well.
The columnist noted the state attorney general’s cast of blame upon Russia’s war against Ukraine for the 50 percent hike in Connecticut’s electricity costs amounts to “the national Democratic administration’s pledge to destroy the country’s conventional energy industry – not just coal, which still produces much electricity, but also oil and natural gas, the latter producing more than half the electricity used in Connecticut.”
Referring to Tong’s push to “reduce our reliance on sources like natural gas” as “nonsense,” Powell asserted:
Natural gas didn’t cause its own price increase. Gas supply is fairly constant and the country can produce far more than enough energy for its own needs. Meanwhile alternatives to conventional energy are not yet adequate, reliable, or economical.
“That is, the country has neglected its energy security and no one is taking responsibility for the policy mistake,” Powell explained is the real issue, suggesting that perhaps “the colder the winter gets, the less persuasive environmental extremism will seem.”
The state, he added, needs to “question where inflation comes from, since it is affecting everything and was raging long before the war in Ukraine began.”
Framing inflation as “a policy mistake of government,” Powell’s comment on the blame game is that since Donald Trump has not been president for nearly two years, “Connecticut Democrats can’t figure out whom to blame.”
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