Opinion: CT Republicans tried to prevent heating crisis. 'Many of our residents will be left shivering in the dark'

Prices at the pump in Old Greenwich, Conn., in April.

Prices at the pump in Old Greenwich, Conn., in April.

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol’ is not on any playbill in Hartford this holiday season, but the specter of Connecticut’s past, present, and future political and economic ghosts are taking center stage at the state Capitol.

The House and Senate are expected to convene in special sessions after Thanksgiving to extend the Dec. 1 expiring gasoline tax 25 cent holiday. Republicans repeatedly offered proposals last spring and this fall — before Election Day — to provide relief with readily available revenues to these very families. Let us not forget that it was the Democratic majority that rejected a longer Republican tax break last May during budget development, which would have made this effort unnecessary. Republicans also called for reductions in the tax on diesel fuel at the time and an increased allocation to the LIHEAP program. But Republicans were never invited into the backroom and Democrats declared all our fully vetted plans as mere political games. Our caucus will be ready, once again to advocate for responsible and proactive planning, even if the Democrats want to continue to point fingers at a problem, they have been ignoring

Now, Connecticut Eversource and United Illuminating consumers have just learned —  after Election Day — that they are facing doubling electrical rates this winter, resulting from shortages in liquid natural gas. Business leaders across the state have been told that our supply shortage may lead to rolling blackouts during the coldest, darkest times of the year. The majority A typical home will burn through 700 kilowatt hours a month, so expect an $84.85 monthly jump in your utility bill. party’s hyper-focus on implementing failing green energy policies have led us down this path and left our energy grid vulnerable. They have been warned over and over that our energy grid is ill-prepared to transition to all electric vehicles, yet they continue to push down this path with no plan to address the supply. Connecticut must either get serious about piping in American sourced gas from our west or develop more fuel cell and nuclear energy to meet our demands. Policy makers must also question the wisdom of placing our energy policies in the hands of our chief environment commissioner, which presents continual conflicts of interest and lack of transparency, who continues to promote energy policies that are exclusively based upon extreme environment interests, and not protecting our energy grid. Activist environmental groups continue to employ tactics stamp down energy policies before they even surface for a decision, at the legislative level. PURA must become independent again if we are going to tackle this crisis. Our caucus will be pursuing this change immediately to ensure electricity and gas rates are more affordable to our poor and middle-class communities who have been the most impacted by our state’s failures.

The biennial state budget development process looms over all the work that lies ahead in the next regular session, but that budget will not be finalized until late spring 2023. Republicans have continued to sound the alarm about Connecticut’s past, present, and future. We demanded the fiscal budgetary caps five years ago to secure the fiscal present the state coffers show today. We demanded action months ago to deal with the heating crisis of today. If policy makers continue to throw money at problems as they arise and instead fail to plan, many of our residents will be left shivering in the dark, and Connecticut will not be well served today or tomorrow.

State Rep. Vin Candelora, R-North Branford, is the House Republican leader.