Con Ed’s proposed rate hike for New York, Westchester has sparked outrage from consumer advocates | Daily News Byte

Con Ed’s proposed rate hike for New York, Westchester has sparked outrage from consumer advocates

 | Daily News Byte

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Con Edison is a greedy, greedy Scrooge, using outrageous holiday interest rate hikes to extract money from customers already in debt for bills they couldn’t pay during the pandemic, consumer advocates said Thursday.

Despite generating $1.3 billion in net income for shareholders in 2021, the utility giant is seeking to dramatically raise gas and electric rates for New Yorkers who advocates say have racked up more than $700 million in utility debt because of the pandemic.

As the holidays approach and temperatures drop, Con Ed is sticking with its request to increase residential electric rates by 13.2% and residential gas rates by 19.1%.

State utility officials estimate the company’s request would increase a typical residential electric bill by $20.90 a month and a typical gas heating bill by $37.88 a month.

The new Con Ed rates were supposed to go into effect in January. However, members of the state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates utilities across New York, expect to delay a decision on rate increases until April.

What consumers end up paying will vary.

Con Ed’s most recent rate hikes, in 2017 and 2019, were less than the company requested. And energy prices fluctuate, affecting consumer bills. Con Ed resells the natural gas and electricity it buys from generation companies without stamps.

Consumer advocates said every rate hike was like getting a lump of coal in their socks.

“New Yorkers cannot take another rate hike from Con Ed,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

“This proposed round of rate hikes — nearly $21 a month more for electricity and a whopping $37.88 more a month for gas — will only enrich Con Ed’s executives and shareholders while leaving many New Yorkers unable to pay their bills.”

Rosenthal said infrastructure funded by the increase would prolong America’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury said the rate increase for customers in New York and Westchester County will fund clean energy investments to support the state’s climate goals, and will go toward infrastructure upgrades to help customers stay in service during bad times. weather conditions. .

Drury said the utility stopped disconnecting service to customers in March 2020 and has not continued disconnections for low-income customers.

“We try to work with customers to help them with their accounts,” Drury said. “We can put them on payment plans, allowing them to pay off their arrears over time.”

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