Operation Fuel, a non-profit organization that provides year-round energy assistance to Connecticut residents, announced on Friday that they are pausing the program for the month of March due to overwhelming demand.

The organization will resume providing energy assistance on April 3rd, however, it is reducing grants by half from $1,000 per household to $500 in order to serve more families. So far this program year, Operation Fuel has provided nearly $6 million in energy assistance to 7,000 households, according to the press release. 

“We regret that we must do this but feel we had no choice,” Operation Fuel’s Executive Director Brenda Watson said. “There has already been an extremely high number of requests for energy assistance this program season. We must pause to get through the backlog so that folks who have applied get their applications reviewed promptly.”

Watson urged those who need energy assistance in March to contact their utility company or the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) by calling 211. Operation Fuel said that it will provide energy assistance from April 3rd through May 31st or until funds run out. 

Energy costs have been a hot-button issue in the state with legislators calling for reforms amid rising prices. Eversource, one of the state’s primary energy providers, recently increased supply rates by 40 percent. 

In an attempt to combat these rising rates, Gov. Lamont has worked with Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) on a relief plan that provides customers with a $10 credit to their bill. However, that program is due to expire at the end of April. In addition to the credit, UI agreed to pay Operation Fuel $3 million, but even that hefty contribution was not enough to meet the needs of residents during a time of unprecedented energy costs.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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