NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., introduced legislation (S.8373) requiring gas and electric corporations to provide customers with 60-days notification prior to any rate or service delivery increase.
“My office received numerous calls from stunned and distressed constituents who had received utility bills significantly higher than usual. Many were concerned that they would not be able to afford to pay their bill while also trying to keep food on the table,” Addabbo said. “My legislation will give customers ample notice prior to any utility bill increase, which will help to avoid falling behind on bills or incurring penalties for missed payment deadlines. Gas and electric utilities are critical for all homeowners and businesses so we have to ensure both availability and affordability,” added Addabbo.
While the Public Service Commission (PSC) had predicted gas and electric increases for winter, the Senator believes the utility companies should have forecasted price spikes and done more to provide advance notice to their customers. The significant increase in utility bills has had a serious impact on household budgets, with more than a million New Yorkers in arrears on their energy payments in February. Addabbo’s bill will notify customers well in advance of a utility rate increase so they can budget accordingly or plan to apply for assistance.
Addabbo, who noted that a number of governmental entities are looking into the recent drastic increases in Con Ed bills, is hopeful that should the bill become law it would provide many of his constituents time to challenge utility increases or better plan for them.
The legislation is currently before the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.