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    Norwich's natural gas bills to go down this July


    May 24, 2022 - Matt Grahn

     

      NORWICH — Even though many everyday costs have gone up, a measure by the state government will mean one bill will cost a little less – for Norwich residents, at least.

      Starting in July, Norwich Public Utilities customers will pay less for their natural gas. This is because Connecticut has exempted Norwich Public Utilities from the State Gross Receipts Tax. This will result in 4% lower bills for homeowners and 5% lower bills for businesses. While the price of the natural gas itself may still change, Norwich Public Utilities Director of Communications Chris Riley said the tax reduction will last for the foreseeable future, rather than being temporary.

      "Our local legislative delegation has delivered for our customers in a big way, and we appreciate their time and effort on this important issue," Chris LaRose, general manager of NPU, stated Tuesday. "State Rep. Emmett Riley, along with state Rep. Kevin Ryan and state Sen. Cathy Osten, clearly understand the significance of providing tax relief for our natural gas customers, many of whom continue to struggle financially as the pandemic continues."

      Riley said the 10,000 natural gas customers that NPU has have paid $4.5 million in Gross Receipts Tax in the past five years.

      "Obviously, it'll be more (of a savings) for a bigger commercial customer, and less for a residential customer," Riley said. "As energy costs increase, every little bit we can do for bills is going to make an impact for customers."

      Other efforts Norwich Public Utilities has made to help their customers in recent years include extended payment terms and financial assistance to customers, along with cooperating with organizations such as the Thames Valley Council for Community Action.

      Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom said that this could encourage more people to enroll as natural gas customers with Norwich Public Utilities.

      "They put the gas (laterals) in the neighborhoods when they have at least 50% of that neighborhood signing up," Nystrom said. "That doesn't mean the lines aren't already there, it just means some people haven't tied in yet."

      Nystrom also said the tax exemption helps the city attract business.

      "That gives us another great gain," Nystrom said.

      As this cost reduction is a tax, Riley said this won't have an impact on the money Norwich Public Utilities makes. However, as energy costs as a whole are going up, Riley said that natural gas and electricity are still bound to go up.

      "No utility company in the world is immune from the pressures of inflation and rising energy costs," Riley said.

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