GOP shocker for city electric rates

Michael Gianaris

May 17, 2011

New York Post wrote an article about the legislation that Senate Republicans passed that expands giveaways for electric-generating companies. We should be standing up for ratepayers not huge corporations.

ALBANY -- Last-minute legislation to head off a threatened 12-percent rate hike for New York City electricity customers was in danger last night as Senate Republicans unexpectedly passed a different measure that could cost the city nearly $2 billion.

Outraged lawmakers and city officials accused the Senate GOP of seeking a massive give-away for electric-generating companies that already are receiving city tax breaks on their property taxes.

"This is a pure attempt to give the generating industry a windfall to which they're not entitled," charged Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).

A prominent lobbyist involved in the issue called the Senate GOP action "a tactical maneuver aimed at asserting Republican power" and predicted that the originally agreed-to legislation would eventually be approved.

Micah Lasher, Mayor Bloomberg's top lobbyist, said the Senate measure, "under the most conservative scenario," would cost taxpayers $600 million -- and, "under the most aggressive scenario, close to $1.8 billion" over several years.

Bloomberg is due at the Capitol today and is expected to raise the issue with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau).

Last week, Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo agreed on a measure guaranteeing permanent property-tax abatements at current levels to electricty-generating companies, thereby removing the basis for a little-noticed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision that could hike city electric rates by $500 million a year.

Read the full article here.