June 11, 2014 1:15 am
By Kyle Adams Columbia-Greene Media |
CATSKILL — In a letter last week, New York State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk urged senate leaders to take action against a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that is raising utility rates in the Hudson Valley this month.
The decision, made in August 2013, created a “new capacity zone” for wholesale energy pricing that groups Hudson Valley counties, including Greene, with New York City counties. The change took effect May 1 and is expected to raise local electric prices by six to 10 percent a year, according to a press release from Tkaczyk’s office.
FERC denied a requested rehearing of the plan toward the end of May, and last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition by Central Hudson Gas & Electric and the New York State Public Service Commission to stall implementation.
Central Hudson has estimated that the change would result in a 10 percent increase in electric costs for local residents and businesses and up to an 18 percent increase for large industrial customers.
The Public Service Commission and the New York Power Authority, both of which oppose the change, have estimated that it could result in a $350 million total annual increase to customers in the lower Hudson Valley.
Tkaczyk said the plan will “benefit residents of New York City at the expense of ratepayers in the Hudson Valley, and this is unacceptable.”
She called on Senate Coalition Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein and Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz to hold hearings to address the new capacity zone, as “time is of the essence.”
“I am calling on the chair of the committee and the coalition leaders to hold a public hearing and examine what we can do to reverse or mitigate the impact of the new ‘Energy Capacity Zone’,” she stated. “This zone runs from the southern part of my district, across the Hudson, and all the way down and through Westchester County. It will affect millions of people, and appears to be happening solely for the purpose of shifting costs to these areas.”
The Greene County Legislature passed a resolution opposing the new capacity zone in March.