Ozone Park, Queens – In response to a request made by Con Edison to the New York State Public Service Commission to raise electrical rates for families in New York City, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Ozone Park) wrote a letter to Public Service Commission Secretary Kathleen Burgess urging the state agency to reject the utility company’s proposal.
“As a public utility, Con Edison has a responsibility to provide Queens families with the basic services they need,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “That’s why I’m calling on the Public Service Commission to reject this proposed rate hike and save our families from excessive utility costs.”
In a letter to the Commission, Assemblyman Goldfeder called on Secretary Burgess to reject Con Edison’s requested rate hike. Goldfeder explained that the proposal comes at a time when many homeowners in southern Queens and Broad Channel are facing rising costs of living, increased cost for flood insurance and many are still recovering from the devastation caused by Sandy.
“On average, I pay $200 a month in winter and as much as $300 in summer. I am a retiree on a fixed income and my electrical costs keep going up,” said Nicholas Neuhaus of Howard Beach. “The Assemblyman would do a tremendous service to me by fighting Con Edison’s rate hikes.”
Last month, Con Edison submitted to the Commission a request for permission to raise customers’ rates. This came as a two-year rate hike freeze put in place by the Commission in 2013 was set to expire. According to its letter to the Commission, Con Ed proposed raising rates by 3.2% in order to generate $368 million in additional revenues, which the company said would be used to upgrade service and enhance system resiliency. According to Con Ed, a typical NYC residential customer using 300 kWh of electricity would see their monthly utility bill rise to around $86.
Assemblyman Goldfeder and other critics of the proposal cite declining fuel costs as reason for the Commission to reject Con Edison’s proposal. The Assemblyman has pointed out that, taking into account the lower costs of oil and natural gas used to generate electricity, Con Edison stands to generate higher revenues per customer than even the proposal requests. In its letter to the Commission, Con Edison notes that they expect to see an increase of 7.2% to rates on a “delivery revenue basis.”
“With fuel costs continuing to drop, it makes no sense to raise utility rates now,” concluded Goldfeder. “Our public utilities should not be in the business of increasing their bottom line at the expense of families struggling to make ends meet.”