Conservation and clean energy money grab in new budget

A wind turbine. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–It is estimated that more than 100,000 Connecticut homes and businesses have benefited from alternative energy and efficiency programs because of the state’s clean energy funding system.

You pay a fee every month on your electric or gas bill that helps to encourage and fund solar and other similar businesses across the state. It is also estimated that this has created more than 30,000 jobs in this field in recent years.

Vivian Guttman-Perez started Home Energy Solutions in Stratford with her brother in law eight years ago.

“We’ve been slowly making our business bigger and bigger, so now we’re up to two teams out in the field doing energy efficiency, plus we have another team doing insulation,” Guttman-Perez said.

The new state budget approved by the General Assembly last week and signed by Governor Malloy on Tuesday will take $175 million from that fund and divert it to other state spending.

Malloy has called it “unwise and damaging.”

Mike Trahan represents all of the solar businesses in Connecticut. He says this will cost at least 500 jobs, and they are preparing to take the state to court.

“If you are telling the rate-payers that you’re going to collect the money and use it for one reason, and then use it for a different reason, it becomes a tax,” Trahan said. “We think that’s wrong, and that’s the basis of where we’re going with the lawsuit.”

“We’re going to be affecting my employees that live in Connecticut and work in Connecticut, we’re going to be affecting all of the suppliers that we use on a daily basis so that we can do the work,” Guttman-Perez said.

 

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