Senator Iwen Chu and The Senate Majority Pass Legislation Protecting Ratepayers and Lowering the Costs of Utilities

Sen Chu albany

(Southern Brooklyn, NY) Recently, Senator Iwen Chu (SD-17) and the Senate Democratic

Majority passed legislation to further protect ratepayers across New York State and lower the

cost of their utility bills. This legislation builds on the work of Senator Chu and the Senate

Majority to support working families and fight New York’s affordability crisis by prioritizing the

interests of consumers, holding utility companies accountable, and increasing transparency

within rate setting practices.

Senator Iwen Chu said, “Lowering the cost of utilities and ensuring that ratepayers are

protected from unfair business practices is a priority for the entirety of our state, especially all

the way down in my district of southern Brooklyn. I was proud to vote for legislation that would

ease the burden on average consumers and also ensure that corporations can’t get away with

unfair rate hikes or convoluted billing practices. With this legislation, we will help guarantee that

more working class families are not getting scammed out of their hard-earned dollars.”

Brooklyn’s main utility providers–National Grid and Con Edison–have faced growing scrutiny

over the quality of service, level of responsiveness, and billing transparency, especially as they

look to continuously raise rates. National Grid itself was the center of a 2021 downstate bribery

scheme where employees accepted payments to award maintenance contracts to Long Island, and

in 2022, Con Edison was blasted for sudden, unexplained increases that tripled some customers’

bills. Even still, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved new rate hikes last year that had

New York City seeing an 8.7% increase on their electricity bill in 2023 alone.

With these bills, greater steps are being taken to protect customers from unscrupulous practices

and ensure that better services are being delivered at fairer, more transparent costs.

The legislation passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:● Utility Hikes Economic Impact: This bill, S2432, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie,

would require the Public Service Commission to consider the economic impact of utility

rates and charges when evaluating utilities’ proposed rate changes.

Accurate Meter Readings: This bill, S1851B, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey,

directs utilities to file with the Public Service Commission a model procedure for

calculating estimated utility bills and to use more actual meter readings.

Home Energy Assistance Re-enrollment: This bill, S2496, sponsored by Senator John

Mannion, would require social services districts to automatically re-enroll eligible

persons or households for the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) if

they remain eligible.

Strengthen Utility Storm Response and Compliance: This bill, S4882, sponsored by

Senator Shelley Mayer would incentivize better regulatory compliance by utilities

through increased flexibility for the Public Service Commission to assess penalties on

utilities for violations of the Public Service Law, and to expand emergency response plan


Utilities to Adopt the Common Equity Ratio: This bill, S6557A, sponsored by Senator

Shelley Mayer would require electric corporations, gas corporations, steam corporations

and water-works corporations to use standardized return on equity calculations set by the

Public Service Commission to prevent unjustifiable rate increases.

Utility Late Payment Study: This bill, S2623A, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker,

directs the Department of State and Public Service Commission to study and report upon

disclosure by utilities to credit reporting agencies regarding late payments.

Limits Fixed Charges: This bill, S1303B, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, would

direct the Department of Public Service to adjust each utility corporation's residential

fixed charge upon such corporation's filing with the Department regarding rate schedule

amendments, to recover only the fixed costs and operation and maintenance expenses

directly related to metering, billing, service connections and the provision of customer


NY HEAT Act: This bill, S2016B, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, aligns utility

regulation with state climate justice and emission reduction targets; and repeals certain

provisions of the Public Service Law relating to gas service and sale, including the 100-

foot rule that obligates utilities to provide gas connections to residential ratepayers at no

cost if the ratepayer lives within 100 feet of the main gas line.

Civil Penalties for False Statements: This bill, S6710, sponsored by Senator James

Skoufis, would establish civil penalties for utilities that knowingly make false material

statements to the Public Service Commission in relation to a rate-making proceeding.