New Yorkers are voicing their frustrations about a proposed electricity and gas rate increase by Con Edison. The utility, who serves 1.1 million residents and businesses in New York, wants to add $485 million in electricityand $210 million in natural gas revenue in 2020.
According to the company, New York City customers using 300 kilowatt-hours would see their monthly bills increase an average of $4.45 to $81.78, or 5.8%. The tab for a Westchester County customer using 450 kilowatt-hours a month would rise $6.10 to $114.04, an increase of 5.7%. For a typical commercial customer using 10,800 kilowatt-hours, the monthly bill would increase $80.96 to $1,970.67, or 4.3%.
The average monthly bill for a residential gas customer would go up nearly 11%, adding $17.28 for a total of $176.34.
At a public hearing, Con Edison stated it needed the rate increase to pay for upgrading natural gas safety measures, improvements to the electrical grid, increase storm response times, and to replace a gas main line.
However, many residents feel they are being taken advantage of; especially the elderly.
Chris Widelo, AARP's associate state director, said many members of the advocacy group for older adults pay some of the highest Con Edison rates in the U.S. and oppose an increase.
"ConEd's proposal is especially harmful for smaller residential customers" Mr. Widelo said at the meeting. "Those rates would be of the highest monthly charges in the nation and would discourage conservation."
Many other New York residents are concern about their ability to pay the rate increase.Grace Holder, who lives in Brooklyn, said she has financial concerns about the boost. She stated;
"My job doesn't give me an increase every year, but I still need to pay my bills."
The current proposal is for a one year increase but there have been discussions about turning this into a multiple year increase.
Ultimately, it will be up to the New York Public Service Commission to decide the increase. Public comments can be made online or by phone through September 30th.