On behalf of our 400,000 nationwide members, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), the leading national consumer advocate on energy issues, responded today to a recent decision by Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) to cancel the procurement of more natural gas for the region. This unfortunate decision was made despite recent statements by New England’s grid manager, ISO New England, saying that the region’s “power system continues to be in a precarious position during extended periods of extreme cold” – and that this would “continue until New England’s natural gas infrastructure is expanded to meet the demand for gas.”

In response to this news, CEA President David Holt issued the following statement:

“CEA is very disappointed with the decision by CT DEEP to cancel the procurement of more natural gas that is vitally needed for families, seniors, and small businesses struggling with some of the highest electricity prices in the country. While we appreciate and recognize the agency’s ability to revisit infrastructure needs in a future proposal, regulatory officials need to recognize the urgency of now. Each state in the region must commit to finding a solution to New England’s energy problems. Residential rates in Connecticut are already 70 percent higher than the national average, and New England continues to suffer from a significant natural gas infrastructure shortfall to meet existing and future demand during cold weather events. Critical gas infrastructure doesn’t come online overnight, and federal energy experts have already predicted that home heating bills this winter could go up an average of $116 nationwide. That’s why Connecticut households and businesses should be concerned about how this decision will impact future price spikes, the possibility of electric blackouts, and shortages of energy for home heating without additional capacity.”

“While CEA supports an all-of-the-above energy portfolio that recognizes the important role renewables play in power generation, we must recognize that renewables alone will not come close to meeting basic energy needs, which will ultimately lead to shortages or extreme costs for household and businesses. People across the region have expressed support for natural gas and renewables. By using both, not only does it help to reduce emissions in the state, but also allows helps to ensure reliability for families and businesses across the state.”

“We are deeply troubled that New England’s policymakers continue to defy logic and roll the dice on reliability. Connecticut’s families need a plan in these tough times, and policymakers can do something now about these unnecessarily high electric rates. Status quo decision-making means higher power bills for those who can afford it least, and that’s unacceptable.”