Electric Rate Increase Information

Posted on January 15, 2019 by admin


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In an ongoing effort to keep you apprised of the policies of state government, on occasion I regrettably have to inform you of bad news. As you may have heard or read, electric rate increases affecting United Illuminating and Eversource customers went into effect January 1st.

As a member of the legislature’s Committee on Energy and Technology, I am compelled to keep our energy bills as low as possible, and to fight any efforts that threaten to increase our bills in the future.

The rate increases were approved last fall by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), which operates independent of the legislature and is statutorily charged with providing oversight for the rates and services of Connecticut’s investor owned electricity, natural gas and water companies.

Standard service generation rates for United Illuminating customers will increase by approximately 24% from its current rate of 9.05¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 11.23¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). The standard service generation rates for Eversource customers will increase from 8.53¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 10.14¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh), an overall increase of 18.9%.

On average, the monthly bill for United Illuminating standard service customers will increase by $16.35. Eversource standard service customers that use 750 kilowatt hours/month will see a monthly bill increase of $12.08 per month.

I’m writing to remind you that UI and Eversource customers have the option of searching for cheaper standard service generation rates through the Energize Connecticut web portal.

Click here to view a full list of suppliers and their ratesAs always, customers who are considering an alternative supply should carefully review price, terms, length of contract, enrollment, early termination, and other potential fees when comparing options.

I hope this information has been helpful.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns relating to state government at john.piscopo@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

Sincerely,

Piscopo Prepares for 2019 Legislative Session, Announces Committee Assignments

Posted on January 8, 2019 by admin


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State Representative John Piscopo (R-76) is joining his fellow colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly in preparing for the start of the 2019 Legislative Session which convenes next Wednesday, January 9.  Rep. Piscopo has been selected by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to continue serving in his leadership role as Chief Whip in the House Republican Caucus.

“I’m honored to have been selected by Leader Klarides to continue serving the House Republican Caucus in my capacity as Chief Whip for the upcoming term,” Rep. Piscopo said.  “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us; I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.  I encourage anyone who has questions or concerns regarding state government to contact me.”

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides added, “I am thankful to Rep. Piscopo for his steadfast and unwavering service to our House Republican Caucus. I know that I can rely on him to maintain discipline and ensure that business on the House floor runs efficiently, which will be critical in the upcoming legislative session.”

Rep. Piscopo also announced his committee assignments for the 2019-2021 legislative sessions.  He was reappointed to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee as well as the Energy & Technology Committee for the upcoming two year term. He will also continue serving on the Environment, Screening, and Legislative Management Committees.

“No doubt, we will be discussing and debating many important issues in the upcoming session. My priorities and commitment to my constituents and the residents of Connecticut remain firm. We must put Connecticut on sound fiscal ground, and create an environment that will allow our economy to grow and businesses to flourish, where families can work, live, and play,” said Rep. Piscopo.

The 2019 Legislative Session will run from January 9 to June 5.

Rep. Piscopo can be reached at john.piscopo@housegop.ct.gov or 800-842-1423. Constituents can follow his legislative activity throughout the session by logging on to his website, www.reppiscopo.com and following him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RepPiscopo.

Piscopo represents Thomaston, Burlington, Harwinton & Litchfield in the General Assembly.

Tax Relief for Connecticut Seniors

Posted on January 8, 2019 by admin


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With tax season quickly approaching, I wanted to make sure you were aware of some pertinent information to ensure that seniors in Connecticut receive all of the tax relief to which they are entitled.

Last session, I joined my colleagues in the legislature in passing a budget that provided tax relief for seniors. Namely, we passed two provisions, one of which eliminated the income tax on Social Security and the other phases out the income tax on pensions.

 Social Security Income Tax Deduction

Effective for tax years beginning after 2019, individual taxpayers may deduct 100 percent of Social Security income, if federal adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than:

  • $75,000 for single filers and married taxpayers filing separately; or
  • $100,000 joint filers and heads of household

Furthermore, taxpayers with incomes equal to or greater than the thresholds qualify for a 75 percent deduction. The income thresholds are increased from $50,000 and $60,000, respectively.

Retirement Income Tax Deductions

Effective beginning with the 2019 tax year, individual taxpayers may deduct a portion of retirement income that is included in federal gross income, if federal AGI is below:

  • $75,000 for single filers, married taxpayers filing separately, and heads of households; or
  • $100,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly

The deduction is equal to:

  • 14% of pension or annuity income for the 2019 taxable year
  • 28% of that income for the 2020 taxable year
  • 42% of that income for the 2021 taxable year
  • 56% of that income for the 2022 taxable year
  • 70% of that income for the 2023 taxable year
  • 84% of that income for the 2024 taxable year
  • 100% of that income for the 2025 taxable year

Under current law, military and railroad retirement that is included in federal gross income is fully deductible.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns relating to state government at john.piscopo@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

Sincerely,

Home Heating Assistance Applications Now Being Accepted

Posted on December 14, 2018 by admin


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Connecticut currently ranks in the top five highest energy costs in the nation. With the cold weather upon us, many residents may struggle to pay their heating bills. However, fuel assistance is available to those in need.

Operation Fuel is now accepting applications for one-time grants of up to $500 per household for deliverable fuel, gas and electric utilities. Qualified individuals are those who have received a shut-off notice, have no utility service, or need assistance to maintain payment arrangements or have a past due balance of 30 days or more.

In order to apply for an Operation Fuel utility or deliverable fuel grant, you must submit an application through a fuel bank. To find the fuel bank that serves your town, please either use the Fuel Bank Finder or call 2-1-1.

You will need to provide proof of the last 4 weeks of income for all household members, the name of your fuel vendor (for deliverable fuel customers only), or your utility bill and payment history (for electric and gas utility customers only).

Operation Fuel is a non-profit organization that partners with local government and community-based organizations at more than 100 sites throughout Connecticut to ensure that families in need have access to year-round energy assistance. Their partner agencies may also be able to connect residents with programs that provide assistance for food, clothing, health services, childcare, and more.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Saturday, 10/27

Posted on October 22, 2018 by admin


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On Saturday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide the public its 16th opportunity in eight years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Held on the last Saturday of April and October of every year, this national event addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue.

The DEA is again calling on Americans to empty their medicine cabinets of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medication and bring them to collection sites for proper disposal. This includes pet medication as well.

DEA Collection Sites closest to our area include:

THOMASTON POLICE DEPARTMENT   
158 Main St. – Thomaston, CT

HARWINTON RESIDENT TROOPERS OFFICE   
100 Bentley Dr. – Harwinton, CT

TROOP L RESIDENT TROOPERS OFFICE   
452 Bantam Rd. – Litchfield, CT

The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

In April, Americans turned in 474.5 tons (over 949,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,600 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take-Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 9.9 million pounds — nearly 5,000 tons of pills, with Connecticut accounting for over 94,000 pounds.This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 27 Take Back Initiative, visit:   www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

DEEP and DCP Urge Tree Health Assessments

Posted on October 12, 2018 by admin


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The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Consumer Protection have recently released a notice urging homeowners to ‘make an assessment of risky dead trees’ while they still have leaves.

DEEP and DCP advise homeowners to look for the following:

Signs you have a risky dead tree

Most healthy hardwood trees would have retained their leaves until the end of September, while unhealthy or dead trees would have already shed or may have never produced leaves this growing season.  The lack of greenery during the growing season is clear indication a tree is dead and should be removed if it is a threat to property.

What you should do before hiring a contractor

  • Shop around: Get multiple quotes to ensure you are hiring the best person to work on your property.
  • Verify a contractor has the proper credential: Anyone making changes to your property, including removing trees, must have a home improvement contractor registration. If someone is doing more detailed work such as correctively pruning a tree, or doing other work associated with prolonging a tree’s life, they must have an Arborist’s license from DEEP.
  • Have a contract: Home improvement contractors are required to have a written contract with you before work may begin.

** It will be helpful to know how long the work is anticipated to take, the costs, the final outcome and what responsibilities you may have in the process**

  • Ask for references: Ask your potential contractor for references from homeowners who have had that contractor do tree removal work on their property.
  • Be aware of scams: Avoid contractors who display signs of being a scammer.

**If you have a complaint regarding a home improvement contractor that you haven’t been able to resolve by contacting that individual or business, you are encouraged to file a complaint with DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov**

According to DEEP and DCP, starting in 2015, Connecticut experienced three consecutive years of expanding Gypsy moth caterpillar defoliation caused by dry springs.  This drought inhibited a moisture dependent soil fungus that solely impacts gypsy moth caterpillar from emerging. In addition, the statewide establishment of Emerald ash borer is causing extensive ash mortality.

Connecticut has been long recognized as having the highest WUI indices in the United States. WUI otherwise known as the Wildland-Urban Interface, is a term that recognizes the proximity of peoples’ homes to forests, wetlands and grasslands. A common term used in fire prone areas of the US, many are surprised at Connecticut’s WUI ranking which is caused by a high percentage of tree canopy cover over a densely populated area. WUI helps explain why so many Connecticut residents are impacted by forest pest outbreaks and severe storms.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on October 11, 2018 by admin


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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase breast cancer awareness and education, while also promoting research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Please consider supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, whether it be through a donation, or simply by purchasing the “pink” version of your favorite everyday products.

I proudly supported legislation which was signed into law (PA 18-159) and became effective October 1, which advocates for women’s health by expanding insurance coverage for mammograms, including tomosynthesis, a three dimensional mammogram which enables the radiologist to better determine if small cancers are present in the breast tissue. The test has been shown to reduce by 40 percent, patient callbacks for an additional test due to the uncertainty of images.

I am committed to helping spread the word about the importance of this cause, which is meaningful to so many families in our community.

Please be aware of the following facts about breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in women
  • Besides being female, age is the most notable risk factor for breast cancer
  • Potentially modifiable risk factors for the disease include weight gain and obesity, use of menopausal hormone therapy, physical inactivity, having high breast tissue density and alcohol consumption
  • Mammography can often detect breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more effective and a cure is more likely
  • In 2018, it’s estimated that among U.S. women and men there will be*: 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,920 breast cancer deaths among women. Also, there will be 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 480 breast cancer deaths among men
For more information on breast and other types of cancers, including key facts and statistics, please visit the American Cancer Society website.

This week: Manufacturing & Trades Job Fair, 10/4

Posted on October 2, 2018 by admin


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MANUFACTURING & TRADES JOB FAIR: 10/4/18

October 4, 2018
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Double Tree by Hilton
42 Century Drive, Bristol

Admission is Free: Open to the public & students interested in careers in manufacturing & the trades.
Click below to register:

CT Veterans Stand Down 2018

Posted on September 18, 2018 by admin


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On Friday, September 21st, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be hosting the 2018 Stand Down event at the Rocky Hill Veterans’ Home from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Connecticut’s veterans deserve the services that they have earned.

Many community providers will have booths set up at the event with specialists to help veterans receive and learn about their earned service benefits, employment opportunities, medical screenings, and legal services.

Additional details below:

  • Gates open at 8:00 a.m. Please arrive no later than 12:00 p.m.
  • No pre-registration required! Attendees are encouraged to bring documentation verifying military service
  • Recovery Based Services
  • Medical Screenings, Dental Services, Eye Care
  • Veteran Benefit Information (State and Federal)
  • Legal and Motor Vehicle Assistance
  • Employment and Educational Assistance
  • Housing Resources and Information
  • Free Bus Transportation provided at designated areas
  • Go to www.portal.ct.gov/DVA and click on “Stand Down 2018” or call 860-616-3803 for general information and the transportation schedule

Free Dental Clinic for Veterans Coming to CT – Tues., 9/11

Posted on September 7, 2018 by admin


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A free dental care event for veterans is coming to Connecticut! 

Aspen Dental’s MouthMobile – a 42-foot-long dentist office on wheels – is coming to Hartford on September 11th to provide free care to local veterans as part of this year’s 30-stop cross-country tour. Dentists and their teams from area Aspen Dental practices are volunteering their services for the event.

·         Date: Tuesday, September 11th
·         Time: 9:00am-3:00pm
·         Place: Connecticut Capital State Park, 210 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106 

If you or someone you know is interested and would like to set up an appointment, please reach out to Mary Harris at (860) 436-9986 to schedule your visit.

Aspen Dental is working with American Legion Deptartment of Connecticut to identify interested veterans and schedule their appointments. The MouthMobile, which will be parked at the State Capital Park, is handicap accessible and fully equipped with two operatories, digital X-rays and a denture lab.

The Healthy Mouth Movement, sponsored by Aspen Dental, is a community giving initiative that works to provide millions of veterans living throughout the United States who either live where there is little or no access to care or who face other barriers like expensive costs, lack of insurance, or fear, with an opportunity to receive free dental care.

For more information about the Healthy Mouth Movement visit www.aspendental.com/about/healthy-mouth-movement.