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Energy Reform = Lower Electric Rates

Ratepayers should benefit from overhaul of state energy laws

To promote energy efficiency, the state will develop a financing program — possibly through low-interest state-guaranteed loans — to help residents replace inefficient boilers and furnaces that are at least seven years old and have an efficiency rating of less than 75 percent. To participate, a customer must have a home energy audit, which can also be financed under the program.

The law also creates a quasi-governmental Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA). This so-called green bank will help finance renewable energy projects. Part of the funding for the authority will come from electric ratepayers.

"We wanted to balance the need for support of renewable energy with the cost of electricity, and this definitely is a balance," said state Rep. Vickie O. Nardello, D-Prospect, co-chair of the Energy & Technology Committee. "We wanted to do it so it doesn't burden the ratepayers."

Heritage Village in Southbury, the largest condominium complex in the state with about 2,600 units for people over 55, uses all electric heat. Civic association president Frieda Denenmark has her eye on the boiler replacement program and another program that will finance renewable energy grants for condos.

"This is a major, major provision," she said. "I can only hope there will be financial incentives for conservation, too."

You may also like: Save up to $1,000 a year on your energy bills.

Jan Ellen Spiegel is a freelance writer living in Branford, Conn.

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