Customers encouraged to discuss eligibility at first in-person enrollment event of the season on Thursday, October 5 in Bridgeport
ORANGE, Conn. — October 3, 2023 — United Illuminating, a subsidiary of Avangrid (NYSE: AGR), announced it is pre-enrolling customers in the low-income discount rate, a two-tiered rate discount in which qualifying customers receive either 10 percent or 50 percent off their monthly charges for electricity. The discount is scheduled to begin for eligible customers with the December 2023 billing cycle.
“The current economic conditions are challenging for many of our customers, and as always, we at UI are here to help,” said Frank Reynolds, President & CEO of United Illuminating. “The low-income discount rate is an important step towards promoting greater affordability for our customers who need it most. I am proud of the work we have accomplished together with our partners in the state legislature and at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to make this new rate a reality, and I encourage any of our customers who think they may qualify to speak with our customer service representatives, either on the phone or in-person in Bridgeport this Thursday.”
The low-income discount rate is a two-tiered rate discount based on customers’ total household income or the participation of at least one member of their household in an eligible benefits program. To be eligible for either tier, customers must first have a financial hardship status coded on their account. Customers whose total household income is at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income, or for whom at least one member of the household participtes in CHIP, HUSKY B, Medicare Savings Program (ALMB or SLMB), CEAP levels 2 and 3, or Section 8 Housing/Rental Assistance may apply for the Tier I 10 percent discount rate.
Customers whose total income is at or below 160 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or for whom at least one member of the household participates in SSI, SSDI, WIC, TANF or TFA, SAGA, HUSKY A, SNAP, Medicaid, CEAP level 1, Refugee Cash or Medical Assistance, Head Start, Connecticut Free or Reduced Lunch, Medicare Savings Program (QMB), or receives support from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may apply for the Tier II 50 percent discount rate.
Customers who already have a financial hardship status coded on their account were automatically enrolled in the low-income discount rate and received a letter to that effect. Customers who were not automatically enrolled but who believe they may qualify for either tier of the low-income discount rate can get more information at uinet.com/LIDR. They may also call UI directly at 800.722.5584 or contact their local Community Action Agency.
“Over many years, our customer service team at UI has worked hard to provide assistance to our low-income customers,” said Tracey Pellela, Vice President of Customer Service at United Illuminating. “I am pleased the low-income discount rate is now another tool in our toolbox to provide our customers with much-needed assistance, and I look forward to seeing its positive impact throughout our service territory.”
Customers are also encouraged to visit UI representatives, together with representatives from Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) and the Community Action Agency for Bridgeport and Fairfield County, the Alliance for Community Empowerment (“Alliance”) in-person this Thursday, October 5 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Alliance’s headquarters (1070 Park Avenue, Bridgeport CT 06604). This enrollment event, the first of the fall season, offers customers the opportunity to speak one-on-one with customer care teams from UI, SCG, and Alliance and enroll in the low-income discount rate as well as the following bill management programs:
- Matching Payment Program – Available to residential customers, this program is designed to help lower energy bills for those who can demonstrate financial hardship. We will match every dollar paid by you or on your behalf up to a zero balance.
- Bill Forgiveness Program (UI Only) – Available to residential customers who can demonstrate financial hardship and have a balance of at least $100 that is 60 days or more overdue. If you qualify, you will be placed on a budget plan for up to 36 months and we will match payments as they are made.
- Winter Protection Program – UI and SCG offers winter protection to all our customers that qualify. If you meet eligibility requirements, we will not turn off your electricity or gas between November 1 and May 1. The Winter Protection Plan must be renewed annually, beginning in October. To prevent your service from being shut off after May 1, contact UI or SCG to set up a payment arrangement.
- Flexible Payment Arrangements – UI and SCG will work with customers if they are having trouble paying their utility bill. UI and SCG offer flexible payment arrangements for all customers needing assistance. These arrangements can be spread out up to 18 months for residential customers and 6 months for non-residential customers. Current payment arrangements may be renegotiated due to a change in financial circumstances per Conn. Agencies Regs. § 16-3-100(b)(3)(A). These arrangements may be discussed confidentially by calling UI Customer Care Center at 800.722.5584 or SCG Customer Care at 800.659.8299.
- Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) – Through the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, United Illuminating administers the HES-IE program. This weatherization program is designed to help customers with limited income or financial needs reduce their energy bills.
For more information on financial assistance programs offered by UI, please visit the UI website or call 800.722.5584. For more information on assistance and programs offered by SCG, visit the SCG website or call 800.659.8299.
Though many customers are on the UI Standard Service rate, some customers elect to purchase electricity directly from independent suppliers. Customers are encouraged to review their bill to make sure they know who their supplier of choice is, and the end date of their service. Customers can visit https://energizect.com/rate-board/choosing-a-supplier to compare prices.
UI is also reminding residents of simple actions they can take to help make their home as efficient as possible and reduce the impact of rising supply costs on their energy bill.
- Install wall-outlet and switch-plate gaskets to reduce the flow of cold air.
- Install storm windows, or purchase window insulator kits to reduce drafts.
- Be sure your home’s insulation meets U.S. Department of Energy specifications for your geographic area, and that ceilings, walls, and floors over unfinished crawl spaces are all properly insulated.
- Insulate hot water pipes.
- Install storm doors to reduce heat transfer to the outside.
Heating & Cooling
- Have your heating equipment periodically checked by a service professional.
- Dust or vacuum radiator surfaces and vents frequently and keep them unobstructed.
- Keep insulated drapes or shades closed in summer and open on sunny winter days. Close curtains or drapes on winter nights to reduce heat loss.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use to keep heated or cooled air from escaping up the chimney.
- Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree above 68º F can use 3% more energy.
- Open windows in spring and fall rather than using air conditioning.
- Install programmable or wi-fi thermostat to automatically control heating and cooling.
- Clean or replace furnace filters periodically, and have your furnace burner checked and cleaned annually.
- Use ceiling or portable fans in place of room air conditioners whenever possible.
- If you use electric heat, consider replacing it with a high efficiency ductless heat pump system, which can cut electricity use by as much as 50 percent.
# # #