Request More Information

Home Care in South Windsor, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that’s how it should be – a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren’t able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today’s world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That’s where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in South Windsor, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

Service Areas

What Our Clients Are Saying

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients’ lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a “one size fits all” approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life’s little moments – where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can’t quite keep up with life’s daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in South Windsor, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in South Windsor, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliché, it’s especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

Types of In-home Care in South Windsor, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior’s daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in South Windsor, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client’s individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor’s appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior’s needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it’s true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior’s home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home’s emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior’s home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in South Windsor, CT, seniors don’t have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors’ health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors’ quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom – much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it’s usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care’s home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in South Windsor, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you’re worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran’s Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior’s private insurance plan. Read over your loved one’s insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver’s role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors’ minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in South Windsor,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior’s day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in South Windsor

Whole Foods site plan gets PZC approval in South Windsor

South Windsor's Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved plans for the construction of the planned Whole Foods building at Evergreen Walk.At the regular meeting, commission members unanimously approved the site plan for the 50,000-square-foot building, which will replace two existing buildings, the current sites of Old Navy and Sakura Garden, comprising 53,000 square feet. The new building will have two units: a 40,000-square-foot unit for Whole Foods and a 10,000-square-foot retail space that will be available for lease....

South Windsor's Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved plans for the construction of the planned Whole Foods building at Evergreen Walk.

At the regular meeting, commission members unanimously approved the site plan for the 50,000-square-foot building, which will replace two existing buildings, the current sites of Old Navy and Sakura Garden, comprising 53,000 square feet. The new building will have two units: a 40,000-square-foot unit for Whole Foods and a 10,000-square-foot retail space that will be available for lease.

PZC Chairman Bart Pacekonis said he was somewhat concerned about the empty retail space, as he recalled a similar space attached to the old Highland Market that went unused.

“I’m looking at your group as being more active in getting tenants, and I’m hoping we’re not making the same mistake and having that eyesore for 10, 15 years,” Pacekonis said.

Karen Johnson, project planner with Evergreen Walk’s managing company Charter Realty, said the company has seen an increase in leasing activity since Whole Foods was announced, and is not concerned with the retail space being vacant.

“We’re comfortable that it will be leased shortly,” Johnson said.

Construction of the Whole Foods is part of a larger initiative by Charter Realty to revitalize the property as a shopping destination for South Windsor and surrounding towns. These plans, outlined in a document released by the company, detail efforts to lease retail locations to various companies, although the document conceals their names.

An undeveloped 5,680-square-foot lot by the former Moe’s is to be leased to a “national burger chain,” and a “national athleisure brand” expects to lease a 5,715-square-foot space. Other storefronts have letters of intent for businesses to lease, but specifics have not been announced.

David Gagnon, civil engineer with Langan Engineering, said the hope is to have the Whole Foods accessible by sidewalk from Evergreen Crossing, a nearby retirement community, which also would help connect it with the rest of Evergreen Walk.

PZC member Stephen Wagner said he is excited by the development of Evergreen Walk, and pleased with how Charter Realty has handled it.

“It’s great to see there’s a long-term plan there to keep this place going and keep it lively,” Wagner said.

PZC alternate member Megan Powell said that while she had not been present for the entire application process, the company did a good job with the Whole Foods site plan, other than minor concerns.

“I do think that due care was given throughout the process,” Powell said.

PZC member Michael LeBlanc said he loves the mural planned for the rear of the building, but wants to make sure it will be easy to touch up if need be.

“The only problem is that they’re hard to maintain,” LeBlanc said.

Pacekonis said he also was concerned about maintenance of the mural, as well as what could happen in the distant future.

“I’m also concerned that at some point, that mural is gonna want to be replaced with advertisement,” Pacekonis.

The commission ultimately agreed to have make a condition of the application’s approval be that no advertisements could replace the mural.

Mayor Andrew Paterna said he feels that the new Whole Foods will be great for Evergreen Walk, and presents many additional development opportunities.

“It shows that South Windsor is still in a great position to attract economic development,” Paterna said.

Who's Coming, Who's Going: The Latest South Windsor Home Sales

SOUTH WINDSOR, CT — The following real estate transfers were recorded in the South Windsor Town Clerk's office through Dec. 31, 2021.5 Murielle Drive - $255,000Buyers: Visham Pandya and Purva PatniSeller: CT Cash Homes LLC...

SOUTH WINDSOR, CT — The following real estate transfers were recorded in the South Windsor Town Clerk's office through Dec. 31, 2021.

5 Murielle Drive - $255,000Buyers: Visham Pandya and Purva PatniSeller: CT Cash Homes LLC

58 Edgewood Drive - $381,000Buyers: Bishnu Shankar Pandey and Sabita KumariSellers: Scot and Chandra Chipman

84 Morgan Farms Drive - $437,000Buyers: Elton and Ilda TusheSeller: Thomas Hatzilambros

949 Pleasant Valley Road, Unit 2-12 - $115,000Buyers: Marlon Ribeiro and Samantha CarringtonSellers: Divakar and Geetha Shenoy

1164 Sullivan Avenue - $250,000Buyers: Melanie and Jeremiah MurphySeller: Tammy Crombie

1512 Twin Circle Drive - $120,500Buyer: Wilson Coronado PaulinoSeller: Erin Winker

27-J Amato Drive - $157,000Buyers: Manav Vohra and Kriti MidhaSeller: Mary Lou Mousseau

75 Mohegan Trail - $375,000Buyers: Rango and Hema RekapalliSeller: Thomas Becker

195 Wheeler Road - $505,000Buyers: Damodhar and Swapna DyavaSellers: Paul and Sophie Cestari

Photos: Redfin; Vision Government Solutions

Connecticut’s top high school boys swimming performers to watch going into the season

Jake Arisian, Sr., Woodland: CHSCA All-State in 100-backstroke with top time of 51.29. Second best time of 49.80 in the 100-butterfly.Andrew Bell, Sr., South Windsor: Selected to the CHSCA All-State team as a diver. Placed 5th at State Open (445.60) and 5th in Class L (414.90).Aiden Bucaria, Jr., Greenwich: Named to CHSCA All-State team in 100-breaststroke (57.78) and the 200 IM (1:53.56). Earned first team All-FCIAC with second-place finish in 100-breaststroke (57.78). Took th...

Jake Arisian, Sr., Woodland: CHSCA All-State in 100-backstroke with top time of 51.29. Second best time of 49.80 in the 100-butterfly.

Andrew Bell, Sr., South Windsor: Selected to the CHSCA All-State team as a diver. Placed 5th at State Open (445.60) and 5th in Class L (414.90).

Aiden Bucaria, Jr., Greenwich: Named to CHSCA All-State team in 100-breaststroke (57.78) and the 200 IM (1:53.56). Earned first team All-FCIAC with second-place finish in 100-breaststroke (57.78). Took third in league in 200 IM (1:53.56).

Ben Chidley, Sr., Fitch: CHSCA All-State in 100-breaststroke with time of 59.69. Won title in 200-individual medley (2:02.74) at 2020 ECC championship. Placed third in the 100-breaststroke.

Jack Clancy, Soph., Ridgefield: Named CHSCA All-State with third-best time of 4:40.48 in the 500-freestyle. Placed third in 500-free with time of 4:40.48 at FCIACs.

Brendan Connors, North Haven, Jr.: SCC champion in the 200 IM (1:54.71). Named to the CHSCA All-State team. Second in the SCC in the 100-backstroke (53.13). Member of league runner-up 200-freestyle relay team.

John Courtemanche, Sr., Northwestern: Named an All-State diver by the CHSCA. Placed second in Class S (370.90) as a sophomore. Won the Berkshire League title with a record score of 422.70 as a freshman. Was highest placing first-year diver at State Open.

Nate Duffy, Sr., Fairfield Prep: One of top freestylers returning in SCC. Placed third in 200-freestyle (1:46.82) and was fifth in 100-freestyle (49.28) in SCC Division A. CHSCA All-State in the 200-freestyle. Member of All-State 200- and 400-freestyle relay.

Thomas Dupont, Sr., Darien: Placed 4th in the 100-backstroke (53.78) at FCIACs as a junior. Named to CHSCA All-State team in 100-backstroke, 100-freestyle, and 200-medley relay. Finished 5th in the 200 IM (1:59.43) at the last CIAC competition in Class L. Took 8th in the 500-freestyle (4:52.53). Finished 3rd in the 100 backstroke and helped lead Darien to a third-place finish in the 200-freestyle relay at the FCIAC Championships as a sophomore.

Hethon Foster, Jr., East Haven: Took 3rd in the 100-butterfly (54.51) in Class M as a member of the Greater New Haven Co-op. Was runner-up in the 100-freestyle in the SCC.

K.C. Green, Sr., Pomperaug: Named All-State by the CHSCA in four events, the 100-breaststroke, the 100-butterfly, the 400-freestyle relay, and the 200-medley relay. Class M champion in the 100-breastroke (1:00.06) as a sophomore. Took fourth at states in the 200 IM (2:00.09).

Whitaker Grover, Jr., Greenwich: Two-time FCIAC diving champion. Posted winning score of 569.10 as a junior. Received the Jon Hahnfeldt Memorial Boys Diving Award when he won league title as a freshman. A CHSCA All-State choice as a sophomore.

Finn Henry, Sr., North Haven: All-State selection by CHSCA in 100-freestyle, 200-freestyle, 400-freestyle relay, and 200-freestyle relay. Won SCC title in 200-freestyle (1:45.66). Had a strong SCC championship his sophomore season, finishing 5th in the 500-yard freestyle, 4th in the 200-yard freestyle, 2nd in the 200-yard freestyle relay and first in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Ryan Huang, Sr., East Lyme: ECC champion in 100-backstroke (55.76). Placed second in 100-freestyle (49.67). Swam lead leg on first place 200-medley relay for 2020 team champions.

Justin Jacob, Sr., Greenwich: 5th in Class LL in the 100-backstroke (54.01) as a sophomore. He was 11th in the event at the State Open (53.97). Swam on the Class LL champion 200-medley relay team. Finished 2nd in the FCIAC 100-yard backstroke and claimed the FCIAC title for the 200-yard medley relay.

Ryan Jee, Sr., Greenwich: CHSCA All-State pick in 200 IM, 400-freestyle relay, and 200-freestyle relay. Swam lead leg on the FCIAC winning 200-medley relay team. Ninth at the State Open in the 200 IM in 1:57.29 as a freshman. He was 24th in the 100-breaststroke. Third place in the FCIAC for the 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and helped Greenwich win the 200-freestyle relay as a sophomore.

Jayden Satir, Jr., Greenwich: Top diver returning from CHSCA All-State team with score of 460.60. Placed third at FCIAC meet.

Mike Kvashchuk, Soph., Norwalk/McMahon: Earned CHSCA All-State honors with fourth best time of 47.40 in the 100-freestyle. Placed second in FCIAC in 100-free (47.40). Took third at league meet with time of 21.57 in 50-freestyle.

Ben Madan, Jr., New Canaan: A CHSCA All-State choice in the 200-freestyle relay, and the 400-freestyle relay. Played a key role for New Canaan’s 2nd place 200-yard medley and 4th place 400-yard freestyle relays as a freshman in the FCIAC championships.

Nate Oppenheimer, Soph., Barlow/Bethel: CHSCA All-State in 50-freestyle (21.44). Had fourth-best time of 50.27 to make All-State in the 100-butterfly.

Carson Raisner, Jr., Hall: ECC champion in the 100-butterfly and 100-backstroke for the league champions. CHSCA All-State in the 100-backstroke.

Tim Regan, Sr., Pomperaug: Named CHSCA All-State in 100-backstroke and 200 IM. Class M champion in the 500-freestyle (4:58.82). Helped 200-freestyle relay to third-place finish.

Noah San Vicente Sr., Xavier: Four-event All-State choice by the CHSCA: 200-freestyle, 500-freestyle, 400-freestyle relay, and 200-freestyle relay. Second in SCC in 200-freestyle (1:45.66). Third in 500-freestyle (4:50.93). Led Xavier to league title in 200-freestyle relay.

Riley Twiss, Jr., Staples: CHSCA All-State in 200-freestyle with time of 1:43.44. Placed third in 200-freestyle (1:43.44) at FCIACs.

Mitchell Wollen, Sr., Xavier: All-State selection by the CHSCA in the 200 IM, 100-backstroke, and 200-medley relay. SCC champion in the 100-backstroke (51.34). Second in 200 IM (1:56.87). Swam lead leg on first-place 200-medley relay.

First, end ratepayer subsidies for natural gas expansion. Then study the future of gas in Connecticut

You may be surprised to learn that Connecticut natural gas ratepayers are subsidizing the expansion of the natural gas system. Yes, in 2021 as we are trying to stop burning fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, ratepayers’ funds are being used to increase the number of natural gas customers.The System Expansion Program (SEP) began in 2013 when the Malloy administration and legislature directed the Public Utilities Regulatory A...

You may be surprised to learn that Connecticut natural gas ratepayers are subsidizing the expansion of the natural gas system. Yes, in 2021 as we are trying to stop burning fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, ratepayers’ funds are being used to increase the number of natural gas customers.

The System Expansion Program (SEP) began in 2013 when the Malloy administration and legislature directed the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to develop a ten-year plan to encourage households that used heating oil to convert to natural gas. At the time, it was believed that burning gas instead of oil would reduce emissions (though it turns out that between combustion emissions and methane leaks, gas is not a good climate solution). The conversion program required ratepayer investments in gas pipelines and infrastructure that will lock in the use of natural gas for decades. Meanwhile, the supposed cost benefits to customers have disappeared as gas prices have increased.

In 2020, PURA recognized that the program was not working as intended and asked its office of Education, Outreach, and Enforcement (EOE) to review the program. In a victory for common sense and a recognition of the facts, EOE’s review concluded that “the program should ‘downsize’ immediately and the System Expansion Program should end at the 10-year mark.”

Among other findings, EOE recognized that:

Now that EOE has issued its report on the System Expansion Program, it is up to PURA to enact the recommendations.

There is another problem with the gas expansion program, namely the way it has been marketed to potential new gas customers. In August 2021, Connecticut’s Attorney General and Office of Consumer Counsel filed a petition to PURA calling for an investigation into Eversource’s gas expansion marketing tactics. According to the Hartford Courant, a South Windsor resident received plainly deceptive materials from Eversource designed to pressure people into signing up for the gas expansion program. “These mailers and high-pressure marketing tactics are nothing short of alarming,” Attorney General William Tong said. PURA agreed to investigate and on Dec. 17, 2021 issued a Notice of Violation against Eversource, along with a $1,797,000 civil penalty.

Connecticut is not the only state to be increasingly wary of investing more in natural gas infrastructure. As a recent RMI study, Overextended: It’s Time to Rethink Subsidized Gas Line Extensions, notes: “A new natural gas customer is added to the system every minute in the United States, and existing gas customers are covering their construction costs through subsidies known as line extension allowances. Each year, these extensions of gas service enable utilities to pass hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to existing customers while expanding the fossil fuel system for decades to come … Utility regulators in every state should reform line extension allowances to eliminate subsidies for gas, align with state climate policies, and reduce the financial burden on existing gas customers.”

Among the states beginning to act is Massachusetts, where the advisory council that oversees Mass Save, the state’s energy efficiency program, is seriously questioning the continuation of incentives for the conversion of home heating systems from oil to gas. Critics of Mass Save point out that heating with natural gas will still produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and lock in the emissions for decades. And who designed the Mass Save program? Gas utilities, among others.

Meanwhile the State of Maryland’s People’s Counsel recently wrote that Maryland gas utilities are continuing to expand their distribution infrastructure despite the growing danger of climate change. Why? Because it benefits shareholders. But the problem goes deeper than that. As Maryland and other states transition away from fossil fuels, ratepayers will still be paying for the investments gas companies are making right now. The question is, who will bear the unrecovered costs of obsolete infrastructure, ratepayers or shareholders? The question has not been answered in Maryland, but given the efforts of gas utilities to expand, it is reasonable to assume that they are counting on ratepayers.

In Connecticut, we need to ask the following question: who will pay for gas infrastructure that becomes obsolete as the state transitions away from burning fossil fuels?

One of the best ways to address the question would be to open a Future of Gas docket at PURA, similar to what the Department of Public Utilities did in Massachusetts. Initiated by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, Docket 20-80 is considering what an orderly decrease in the use of natural gas for heating would look like, what alternatives exist for heating buildings, how much ratepayer money should utilities spend on repairing and replacing leaking pipelines that may be phased out, and how should remaining gas ratepayers be protected from the costs of maintaining a distribution system that has fewer and fewer customers.

Gov. Ned Lamont’s recent Executive Order No. 21-3 suggests that Connecticut needs to look squarely at the future of natural gas. “GHG emissions from buildings have increased instead of being on track to achieve the roughly one-third reduction in such emissions needed to achieve the GWSA 2030 target, [and] a new Comprehensive Energy Strategy is needed that identifies the best clean, affordable and resilient heating and cooling options for buildings, and reconsiders the natural gas expansion program recommended in the 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy.”

Governor, push to completely end the current natural gas expansion program that is expensive, unfair to ratepayers, and inconsistent with the state’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Then join with Attorney General Tong to request that PURA open a docket that explores the future of gas. Ratepayers, voters, and future generations will thank you.

Peter Millman is a member of Beyond Gas CT, a coalition that includes the Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club CT, Acadia Center, The Nature Conservancy, Save the Sound, CT Citizen Action Group, and People’s Action for Clean Energy.

CTViewpoints welcomes rebuttal or opposing views to this and all its commentaries. Read our guidelines and submit your commentary here.

Manchester, South Windsor, East Windsor setting mask mandates for all public venues

Local towns are implementing mandates on wearing masks indoors in all public venues, with a mandate going into effect today in South Windsor and East Windsor, and Manchester’s taking effect on Saturday.South Windsor Town Manager Michael Maniscalco announced Thursday that the town has worked with Manchester and East Windsor to coordinate regional mask mandates. South Windsor now requires people to wear masks in all public indoor spaces, unless eating, drinking, or otherwise medically exempt.Manchester Acting General Manage...

Local towns are implementing mandates on wearing masks indoors in all public venues, with a mandate going into effect today in South Windsor and East Windsor, and Manchester’s taking effect on Saturday.

South Windsor Town Manager Michael Maniscalco announced Thursday that the town has worked with Manchester and East Windsor to coordinate regional mask mandates. South Windsor now requires people to wear masks in all public indoor spaces, unless eating, drinking, or otherwise medically exempt.

Manchester Acting General Manager Steve Stephanou and Mayor Jay Moran announced today that the town would start mandating masks indoors starting Saturday, with conditions identical to that of South Windsor.

And East Windsor First Selectman Jason Bowza issued a mask mandate effective today. He said that East Windsor, South Windsor, and Manchester also have been in talks with Windsor Locks and East Hartford to issue mask mandates and are encouraging the Capitol Region Council of Governments to follow suit.

“We’re all better off doing something together, than individually,” Bowza said.

Maniscalco said South Windsor’s approach would be non-punitive, encouraging residents and businesses to comply. He said while he doesn’t expect it to be a major issue, the town has the power to issue a $100 fine if someone doesn’t wear a mask indoors.

“The conversation I’ve had at this point, and this is the same conversation we had earlier on, is if we can cajole people into wearing a mask and remind people of the importance of it, that’s the goal,” Maniscalco said.

Stephanou said Manchester would take a similar approach, working closely with local businesses and issuing warnings and fines only if necessary.

“We would not be looking to be punitive,” Stephanou said.

Bowza said he’s gotten many calls from local businesses asking for a mask mandate and added that he and many of his colleagues would prefer it if the state would issue another mandate instead of leaving it up to individual towns.

“Absent that, we’re trying to work in a regional fashion so that we’re doing what we can to control the spread of the virus on a regional basis,” Bowza said.

Maniscalco said the collaboration between towns has been very productive, and he hopes this regional effort will make the people of South Windsor and nearby towns safer.

“We’re very pleased to be working with our neighbors,” Maniscalco said.

Stephanou said Manchester has also been happy to work with nearby towns.

“It’s been a very productive, collaborative effort along with South Windsor in trying to have a more regional approach to containing the delta variant,” Stephanou said, which has proven to be more contagious than previous strains of COVID-19.

Bowza said this regional effort is extremely important, in order to prevent the spread from reaching the point where more restrictive practices are required.

“We want to do two things — we want to make sure our kids can go to school in person this year, and we want to make sure we can avoid sector shutdown,” Bowza said.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.