From the Capitol: Reducing Energy Costs, Promoting Efficiency

October 17, 2014

As the cold air rolls in to Connecticut, and we begin the sad routine of shutting our windows and switching on the space heaters, we are all reminded of Connecticut’s high energy and home heating costs.

Connecticut has some of the highest energy rates in the country. Thankfully, there are some services currently available in our state to help families who can’t afford their basic energy costs. There are also programs to help us all be more energy efficient, enabling us to use less energy and thereby save money. Here are a few important programs in Connecticut designed to help.

Home Energy Solutions-Core Services (HES)

Many homes are not as energy efficient as they could be. Outdated light bulbs, drafty windows, old appliances, and worn out insulation can eat up and leak out a ton of energy – costing you a ton of money.

The state’s HES program gives people an opportunity to get an “energy checkup” for their home. For $99, a local expert can come to your home to examine where you might be losing energy and where you are using more energy than needed. The inspection includes some immediate solutions, like all new energy efficient light bulbs, sealing critical air leaks, sealing cracks in ductwork, and installing low flow showerheads. You will also receive written recommendations to further update your home as well as information on rebates for updating your furnace, appliances, air conditioning systems and insulation.

All residential customers of CL&P, UI, CNG, SCG and Yankee gas are eligible for this program. Applications are available on your local electric or gas company’s website. If you rent the home, you will need to obtain your landlord’s approval. Please be aware that there could be a waiting list for this program because of its popularity.

For more information visit or call 877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873).

Home Energy Solutions – Income-Eligible Program (HES-IE)

If your family’s combined gross annual income is below the state’s 60 percent income median, you may qualify for a similar HES program. For example, a family of four earning under $62,128 annually would qualify. HES-IE provides free services to qualified customers. This program involves the same home “checkup,” but does so at no cost to the consumer. If additional improvements are needed, such as insulation or more energy-efficient appliances, the expert will arrange for contractors to do the work on your home. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes these improvements can be done at no cost to you.

To apply, visit your local utility online or call 877-WISE-USE. If you receive fuel-assistance through your local Community Action Program (CAP) agency, you may also apply through their office. Our local offices include: TEAM, Inc. (Derby-Ansonia-Shelton area) 203-736-5420; and Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (Bridgeport area) 203-384-6904. To see if you qualify visit

Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

CEAP is designed to help lower income households in Connecticut by offsetting winter heating costs and paying for heating sources including oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, coal, wood and wood pellets. To be eligible, your household income must fall at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines – a family of four, for example, would qualify if they earn under $35,775 annually. Households with elderly, disabled and/or children under the age of six, with incomes between 150 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are also eligible, meaning a family of four earning under $47,700 would qualify if they also meet the age requirements. To apply for assistance, residents can now visit their local community action agency to schedule an appointment. Our local agencies include: TEAM, Inc. (Derby-Ansonia-Shelton area) 203-736-5420; and Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (Bridgeport area) 203-384-6904. To find other community action agencies across the state, contact the Department of Social Services’ Office of Community Services at 1-800-842-1132. CEAP is funded by the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To find out if you qualify, visit and click on “winter heating,” then click on “income guidelines.”