Eichenstein Calls on State Agency to Reject Con Ed Price Hike
Albany – A state lawmaker is calling on the Public Service Commission to reject a request by Con Edison to raise prices by double digits.
Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, a Boro Park Democrat, said that the energy giant “should first demonstrate that it’s capable of upgrading its services before we consider their proposed rate increase.
”The commission is expected to vote later this month whether to approve the rate increase. If approved, electricity rates would rise by 4.2 percent this coming year, by 4.7 percent for the following year, and 4 percent for 2022. This would equal a 13 percent hike over the three years.
The company also wants to raise gas rates at an even steeper pace. It wants approval for a 7.5 percent bump next year, 8.8 percent the following year, and 7.2 percent after that. This means that gas customers would be paying 25 percent more after the three years are up.
“I know firsthand how my constituents are struggling to pay their utility bills, which are already among the highest in the country,” Eichenstein wrote to John Rhodes, the panel’s chairman. “Most New Yorkers are low to middle income city residents who pay their utility bills with great difficulty. My office receives countless calls from constituents who are barely making their payments and are reaching out to us for help. Adding this unjustified and costly increase in delivery rates would be a disaster for them. I cannot imagine how they will survive it.”
The assemblyman noted Con Edison’s recent significant service issues, especially the massive blackout this past July in midtown Manhattan during a heat wave that prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to threaten to revoke the utility’s license.
“The Public Service Commission,” Eichenstein added, “would do well to consider the outcry from consumers and elected officials before authorizing these proposed rate hikes, and especially to consider its devastating impact on the average New Yorker. Is it justified? I think not. And I am confident that you will agree.” If approved, the rate hike goes into effect Jan. 1.