Inflation spikes electric bills during holiday season


Photo by Caroline Zajac '25

The Wonderland House is found on Roseville Terrace in Fairfield. It has 500,000 lights and takes five people six to eight months to set up this display. They have lights ranging from minions to a Sandy Hook memorial throughout their yard. Although energy costs are rising in New England, the Halliways are already aware of the 20% increase in electric bills.

As the holiday season approaches, many people plan to celebrate with bright lights and blow up figures. However, due to levels of record-high inflation in Connecticut, their electric bill has put an unpredictable strain on their finances.

The two biggest energy companies in Connecticut, United Illuminating and Eversouce, have increased their prices by around $80 due to inflation. Both companies have announced they are filing for new electricity supply prices that could cause their customer’s bill to go up 48%. 

The Holiday Wonderland Owners, a non-profit organization in Fairfield, sets up 500,000 lights every year to show their support of the holiday season. Donations towards their light show go towards electricity and the Shriners Children’s Hospital. The owners, Gene and Mary Halliwell, note that the electric bill always goes up from summer to winter and is inevitable. 

“They will not get the 50% the [electricians] are asking for,” Gene Halliwell said. “It will probably be a compromise and will go up 20-25%. If it goes up, you have to pay it anyway.” 

According to Energy Sage, the average monthly electric bill for Connecticut citizens is $272 or 25 cents per kilowatt. United Illuminating, a popular electric company in Fairfield County, is raising their prices from 10.62 to 21.94 cents per kilowatt. 

While these electrical companies are benefiting, citizens are not. According to CT Insider, 646,000 adults are having difficulty covering household expenses while 11% of parental figures are having trouble feeding their children. 

Use LEDs in holiday lighting displays. They use 90% less energy and last up to 50,000 hours. For most homes, a balanced plan that eliminates poor energy practices and promotes using energy efficient products will provide the best results.

— United Illuminated

United Illuminated believes that there are ways families can reduce the cost without relying on the decrease of inflation. 

“Use LEDs in holiday lighting displays. They use 90% less energy and last up to 50,000 hours. For most homes, a balanced plan that eliminates poor energy practices and promotes using energy efficient products will provide the best results,” United Illuminated said.

According to consumer marketing expert Jacyln Bartlett, who resides in Easton, Connecticut, people should find ways to save money to keep the rising electricity prices down. 

“We have LED lights on our Christmas tree, so we are saving money there. We will run the lights outside on a timer,” Bartlett said. “I’m more aware of the lights and what my kids are using. We need to make sure we are turning off the lights, and that things are unplugged to help keep the cost down.”

Mitch Gross, head of media relations for Eversource, says that it’s not only inflation that is increasing electricity prices. 

The global spike in natural gas prices began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian manipulation of natural gas supplies,” Gross said. This extra cost is what we pay to purchase electricity from power generators and deliver to our customers – we pass the cost along to our customers – there is no mark-up and no profit for us.” 

Governor Ned Lamont sees concerns in this rise of inflation as well. During his recent campaign, he claimed he will strive towards helping piece the economy back together and lower inflation rates. 

According to NBC, Lamont put an additional $30 million towards the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. State officials say that it will significantly decrease electric bills of citizens who make under $75,000 a year.

On the side of the Wonderland House, a snow dispenser shoots out every two minutes mimicking a beautiful, snowy Christmas night. They have about 25,000 visitors every year to participate in the Christmas spirit; inflation is the least concern of the hopeful families that visit.
(Photo by Caroline Zajac ’25)

“My favorite part of the holiday season is driving by houses and seeing their holiday lights every year although I do know that it is very costly,” Lily Rimm ’25 said. “I wish the cost of these holiday decorations weren’t as high so that we could all participate in the spirit and celebrate each holiday as best as we can.”