Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset) announced today that he has passed, Senate Bill 6862-A, which will require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct an independent audit of private water utility companies prior to and after rate changes are approved by the PSC. This is the first of a package of bills he sponsors to address the dramatically high water bill spikes that have affected customers of New York American Water on Long Island.
“More than 100,000 Long Island customers have been shocked when they opened their water bills from American Water. Some residents have seen their rates more than double. The public outcry has been loud and justified. Yet, American Water and the PSC are unwilling to take any steps to reduce this burden on consumers,” said Senator Marcellino.
The legislation requires the public service commission to retain an independent auditor to conduct audits of private water utility companies prior to and after rate changes are approved by the public service commission.
In May 2017, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) granted New York American Water a rate increase for the next four consecutive years. These increases range from 1 percent to as high as 9.6 percent.
“The combination of a draconian rate increase and the practice of passing the companies taxes on to the backs of their ratepayers has created a dramatic financial burden in water bills. Add to that the lack of accountability by American water and you have a situation where people feel betrayed and helpless,” added Senator Marcellino.
New York American Water is a private company that services 120,000 households and businesses in Nassau County. Unlike public water utilities in New York State, American Water pays property taxes and passes that expense to their customers in their water bills.
“The PSC played a major role in creating the American Water crisis and this bill will force them to be part of the solution. This is an important first step in protecting ratepayers and fixing a problem that has gotten out of control,” concluded Senator Marcellino