As a publicly owned utility Groton Utilities prides itself on being able to provide services to the community at the lowest rates possible. We are not profit driven, so we design our rates to be as low as possible while allocating funds for necessary expenses to run a utility while also responsibly planning for the future.
Groton Utilities purchases power as part of a cooperative called CMEEC (Connecticut Municipal Electrical Energy Cooperative), which allows us to purchase power “in bulk” along with five other regional publicly owned power companies. This arrangement has been greatly beneficial over the years and plays a huge part in our ability to keep rates lower than the local competition.
Unfortunately, not all costs are within our control, even with the benefits of CMEEC.
The challenge of electricity in New England
Electricity is created by various means in the United States, primarily from natural gas, nuclear energy and coal. Additionally electricity is increasingly created from renewable sources such as wind, hydropower, solar power, biomass, wind, and geothermal. In New England more than 50% of electricity comes from natural gas-fired plants.
The challenge with natural gas as a primary fuel source is two-fold. New England has limited pipeline capacity, so getting enough gas into New England to accommodate the required capacity between power plants and natural gas heated homes can create a strain on supply. Where there is a lack of supply of anything and greater demand there are usually higher prices. Secondly, the war in Asia has created a shortage of natural gas throughout the world, creating more scarcity and therefore higher prices. This affects New England more than other areas.
Groton Utilities does its best to maintain a stable energy supply cost and keep rates below the regional average. Under normal circumstances we can use our rate stabilization fund to keep supply cost fluctuations from affecting customer electrical rates. If outside influences reach a point where we can no longer absorb higher wholesale energy costs then we may need to adjust the PPA (Purchased Power Adjustment) portion of customer’s energy bills.
While we do our very best to avoid such adjustments it is a natural part of rising energy costs and must occasionally be done to remain fiscally responsible.
What can customers do?
Now more than ever it is a great time to find ways to conserve energy. Make sure your home is adequately insolated. Check to make sure pipe entry points to your home are caulked and sealed. Keep your thermostat a couple degrees lower than normal and throw on a sweater instead. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to lower temperatures when you are out of the house or asleep. Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. If you have a hot tub keep the temperature lower between uses. These and many more energy saving tips can be found on our website at https://grotonutilities.com/energy-conservation/energy-saving-tips/.
Additionally, consider taking advantage of our free Home Energy Saving (HES) program. This program is subsidized in part by a State of Connecticut grant and provides a free comprehensive in-home energy assessment service for your dwelling which may include air sealing, ducting testing and sealing, installation of low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to save water, installation of energy-efficient LED light bulbs as well as incentives for insulation upgrades.