Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


Military and Veterans Discount

Contests and


Free AARP E-Books

Protecting Yourself Online for Dummies

Here's the mini guide you need to steer through the hazards with confidence.

Learn More


AARP Games - Play Now!


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

News & Politics Forums

Share your opinions on news and current events that matter most to you.

Join the discussion »

AARP Auto Buying Program




Energy Reform = Lower Electric Rates

Ratepayers should benefit from overhaul of state energy laws

Frieda Denenmark with boiler, has hopes for Connecticut's new energy program.

Frieda Denenmark, president of the Heritage Village Civic Association, has her eye on the boiler replacement program, supported by AARP and included in Connecticut’s new energy law. — Photo by Christopher Capozziello

Help is on the way for Connecticut residents battered by the highest electric rates in the continental United States as well as aggressive marketing practices by some electric suppliers.

See also: 18 ways to save on your utility costs. 

Consumers could see electric rate reductions — up to 10 percent has been predicted — partially as a result of a massive reform of how Connecticut buys energy. The law passed by the legislature earlier this year sets a new energy course with dozens of policies designed to rein in costs, promote efficiency and create jobs.

Implementing the law falls mostly to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which combines the former Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Utility Control.

The legislation makes Connecticut the second state to hire an electric power procurement manager. Previously, energy was purchased by the state's two major utility companies, which had to adhere to strict rules governing how and when they purchased power. The manager will have greater flexibility to purchase power on behalf of Connecticut residents. Those changes should mean faster reactions to market fluctuations to get the best deals.

"I think you're going to see rates down measurably in 2012 over 2010," said DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty, who noted that rates also have been falling because of lower natural gas prices.

That's welcome news for AARP Connecticut, which backed the legislation. "Our focus in our public policy is how do we get rates down," said Claudio Gualtieri, senior program specialist. "After years of paying the highest rates in the continental U.S., relief is in sight for Connecticut residents."

For low- and moderate-income households, the legislation could provide discounted electric and gas rates.

AARP Connecticut supported numerous consumer protections in the law, such as:

  • A requirement that electric suppliers include information such as the terms of agreement, an explanation of rates, why rates could change, etc., in the contract.
  • A statement of how long advertised rates are guaranteed.
  • The right to cancel a contract with an electric supplier within three days of seeing the terms in writing or entering into a contract.
  • Restrictions against deceptive trade practices, and limits against overly aggressive marketing.

Next: Green bank will help finance renewable energy projects. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points