We are constantly working to provide updates and important news as it develops over social media and by email. This is a recap of some of this week’s highlights.
For more information about the state's response efforts visit ct.gov/coronavirus. To receive text message notifications, sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system. To subscribe, text "COVIDCT" to 888-777.
Energy Assistance Programs
Increasing fuel prices will present additional challenges for Connecticut residents to keep warm this winter season.
For those who need help, I want to share information on energy assistance services available in the state.
Some of the energy assistance programs available in Connecticut include:
Connecticut Energy Assistance Program: Administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services, the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), provides winter heating cost assistance to more than 75,000 income-eligible households every year, regardless of their heat source. People should contact their local Community Action Agency to apply. Statewide consumer and application information is available on the web at www.ct.gov/staywarm or by calling 2-1-1. CEAP has significantly higher benefit levels from a record $135 million in federal funding to help heat Connecticut homes. Both homeowners and renters can be eligible. CEAP helps enrollees afford the cost of natural gas and electric heat, as well as deliverable fuels like oil and propane.
Nonprofit heating assistance services: Operation Fuel and other nonprofits provide year-round emergency energy assistance to low-to-moderate-income households that don’t qualify for CEAP or who run out of CEAP benefits. Information is available at operationfuel.org.
COVID-19 Payment Plans for Utility-Heated Customers: The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has directed all regulated electric, gas, and water utilities in the state to offer COVID-19 payment plans, which both residential and non-residential customers are eligible to enroll in through the end of the public health emergency declaration. COVID-19 payment plans are available to any customer requesting financial assistance to facilitate the repayment of past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill. These plans require no initial or down payment or demonstration of financial need; can be up to 24 months in length; and waive any fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount. Customers can receive information on these payment plans by contacting their utility companies.
Electric Utility Bill Assistance from UniteCT: Established by Governor Lamont and administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing, UniteCT provides rental and utility assistance funding for those financially impacted by COVID-19. UniteCT has become a model for other states by successfully delivering more than $18 million to electric customers to date to help pay down their arrearages (back bills). Connecticut residents who rent their homes can apply through their electric utility company or municipal electric company. For more information, visit portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT.
Winter Protection Program – Moratorium on Heating Source Shut-Offs: From November 1 through May 1, there is a moratorium in Connecticut on heating source shut-offs for eligible households. Customers should contact their utility and inquire about the Winter Protection Program, as well as other programs for which they may be eligible. More information is available from 2-1-1 by visiting uwc.211ct.org/winter-protection-winter-moratorium/.
Energy-Saving Solutions – Energize CT: Energize CT can help customers save money on energy bills by providing advice, information, and financial incentives to make homes more energy efficient. For more information, visit energizect.com.
Consumer Protections Regarding Third-Party Electricity Suppliers: Over the past decade, Connecticut has enacted a series of consumer protections for customers of electric suppliers, including prohibiting variable rates and giving PURA the discretion to prevent customers who were designated as “utility hardship” from being switched to electric suppliers. Just this year, Governor Lamont signed Public Act 21-117, which prohibits cancellation fees for residential customers who are under contract with an electric supplier and strengthens PURA’s oversight over electric suppliers.
For further guidance on energy assistance programs available in Connecticut, please call 2-1-1. Please share this information with anyone that might need some help.
Mental Health Services for College Students
The launch of the Connecticut Campus Mental Health Program will provide $2.7 million to colleges and universities in Connecticut as they respond to the ongoing student mental health challenges driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has some helpful resources available:
On December 16th, CCMC will partner with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the State Department of Education to host a virtual meeting for parents entitled “Staying in School Safely During COVID-19: An Evening with CT Medial Experts for Parents and Families.” The conversation will focus on families’ most frequently asked questions related to COVID-19, vaccinations, social-emotional supports, mask-wearing and more. Find digital flyer and registration information here.
Two CCMC pediatric experts answer questions related to kids and the omicron variant. Find the resource here.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently released an advisory on pediatric mental health, which highlights the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health and provides recommendations on how to help address this crisis. Read the full advisory here.
Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
The West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District is offering two walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics this weekend. The organization will be offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, booster shots and additional doses for adults age 18 and older at Conard High School. Registration is not required.
Friday, Dec. 10, 3:00-6:30PM
Saturday, Dec. 11, 10:00AM-3:00PM
Tax Amnesty Program
I want to make sure you are aware of the January 31, 2022 deadline for the 2021 Connecticut Tax Amnesty program, which gives people and businesses the chance to pay back taxes at reduced interest rates and with no penalties.
Here is how the program works and what it provides to people and businesses who haven't filed their taxes or underreported them for any tax period ending on or before December 30, 2020:
A 75% reduction in interest;
Penalties are waived;
Potential to avoid criminal charges;
All taxes administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (with the exception of the motor carrier road tax), are eligible for the program.