Keeping Tabs On Con-Edison

I am following the case of Con-Ed’s proposed rate hike while wearing two hats – first as a State Assembly member and as the Chair of the State Energy Committee and secondly, as a Westchester resident. In each of these instances, I believe we need to hold Con-Ed accountable for any proposed rate hike and question the company as to why we would be getting a rate hike.

That is why I have filed as an intervener in the case before the Public Service Commission. We raised issues that were not raised by other parties in the briefs that we filed. For instance, Con Edison is closing a steam plant in New York City. If and when it is converted to use by the electric system, it will be the electric rate payers that will foot the bill for dismantling the steam system.

It is New York City consumers that use steam energy (apartment buildings, commercial properties) not Westchester consumers. Westchester consumers, however, would end up having to share in shouldering the burden for this bill which does not seem fair.

The PSC held a public hearing last week regarding the Con Ed rate hike issue and I was one of the speakers at the meeting. I was disappointing that so few residents turned out to voice their opinion. Either way, Con Ed is pressing forward with its case for a rate hike despite the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo has told the PSC that he didn’t believe the rate hike was warranted.

Con-Ed has requested an eight-percent hike for electricity, a 2.5-percent hike for gas and 2.3-percent hike for steam. The PSC has actually recommended that Con-Ed cut its rate but the utility says it needs the increase to cover the costs that would accompany another storm like Sandy.

The PSC isn’t likely to come to a decision on this matter until December. Between now and then, let’s stay on Con-Ed and make them accountable. If they could point to specific reasons as to why the hike is warranted and how such a hike would benefit us, the consumers, then maybe it would make the situation a whole lot easier to understand and accept.

We already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country. I intend to keep a close eye this matter both as your representative and as a fellow Westchester resident. I want Con-Ed to understand our concerns and realize that they can’t keep taking without giving something back.

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