“After learning that the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) proposed a 4.8% rate increase as part of its 2009 budget proposal, ratepayers are justifiably wondering why they are facing yet another rate increase when energy costs have been continually falling over the past several weeks and they have reduced their own usage.
I was the co-sponsor of a proposed state law that was vetoed by Governor David Paterson two months ago that would have prevented LIPA from imposing such large rate increases without a full public review process. The measure, sponsored by Senator Kenneth LaValle, was unanimously approved by both Houses of the State Legislature.
Under the proposed law, a comprehensive review would be performed by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), an independent regulatory agency, before any LIPA increase requests above 2.5 percent could be approved.
LIPA’s latest rate hike proposal is a perfect example of why New York State needs this law to protect both homeowners and businesses from unfair rate hikes and provide greater scrutiny of LIPA’s rate increase practices.
Although LIPA has said it will be soliciting public comments on the proposed rate hike, this is the same administration which aggressively opposed the proposed law that would have held it accountable to ratepayers.
Before ratepayers are confronted with higher power bills, LIPA’s proposal must be subject to a public review to prove whether an increase is justified. I will continue to fight for enactment of this legislation to provide oversight of LIPA’s rate increase practices.”
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