Request for Clergy Signatures to Oppose Gas Demand Fee for Churches

11/19/2019

Connecticut Conference Minister the Rev. Kent Siladi sent a request to clergy today asking them to sign a letter to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). The letter, which appears below, asks PURA to recognize that Houses of Worship are not commercial or residential enterprises, and therefore should not be grouped among these categories when determining demand fees for gas utility purchases. The letters further asks PURA to exempt Houses of Worship from the demand fee currently assessed on gas purchases either by specific identifying them as exempt or by creating a new category for exempt organizations.

"The demand fee presents a significant financial burden on our impacted congregations and compromises many of the services we provide.  The elimination of the demand fee will allow our churches to better serve people in need in our communities," writes Siladi in the letter.

In his request, Siladi asked clergy to sign the letter by submitting their name to an online form prepared by the Conference. Clergy and church leaders interested in adding their name to the letter may use this link to access the form.

Below is the letter to PURA clergy are asked to sign:



Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ  (CTUCC) Congregations In Support of
PURA Investigation to Conduct a Study and Report on the Creation of a New Gas Rate Class for Tax-Exempt Houses of Worship
(PURA Docket No. 19 07 03)
November 19, 2019



We strongly urge the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to create a new gas rate class for Houses of Worship and eliminate the demand fee for gas purchased for Houses of Worship in Connecticut.  Congregations are exempt from income and property taxes and should not be grouped with commercial enterprises that are subject to income and property taxes.   
 
Many of our churches are struggling financially. The demand fee presents a significant financial burden on our impacted congregations and compromises many of the services we provide.  The elimination of the demand fee will allow our churches to better serve people in need in our communities.
 
The current rate structure contemplates only two classes of customer: commercial and residential.  It is obvious that our Houses of Worship do not properly belong in either category.  Most importantly, we should not be categorized as a commercial rate payer because we are not a commercial enterprise.   We respectfully ask that PURA recognize this reality by exempting our  Houses of Worship from the demand fee; or alternatively that your create a new rate class for Houses of Worship and exempt this class from the demand fee. 
 
Thank you.
 
Blessings,
The Rev. Kent Siladi
Conference Minister
Connecticut Conference UCC
125 Sherman St
Hartford, CT 06105