Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today announced he will soon be introducing new legislation, the “Ratepayer Protection Act”, to ensure elected representatives have the final say with any utility rate change.
Tedisco’s legislation, which is being drafted, would ensure that any decision on rate increases or decreases must be ratified by the people’s elected representatives in the New York State Legislature.
National Grid has proposed a delivery charge rate increase of 17.5 percent for electricity and 20.5 percent for gas. That’s on top of an 11 percent hike for residential electric customers and a 12.5 percent increase for residential gas service. On average, National Grid customers could see a $200 a year hike in their bills and small businesses could see even higher increases.
Tedisco has already publicly blasted this rate hike and he has written the Public Service Commission (PSC) urging them to reject the increase. The Senator is hopeful more of his colleagues join him in supporting additional oversight over exorbitant rate hikes.
New Yorkers now pay the 7th highest energy costs in the nation and this rate hike only will make things worse. About 66,000 National Grid customers faced shutoff notices last year and that number will only increase if this rate hike goes through as more customers will struggle to pay their exorbitant bills.
“We have weighed in by using the bully pulpit, but right now the PSC has jurisdiction over this decision. They are not elected representatives -- we are,” said Tedisco. “It’s appropriate that we keep the commission’s oversight of these rate requests to give us recommendations, facts and justifications. However, it’s imperative that we pass the ‘Ratepayers Protection Act,’ so as accountable elected representatives, the state legislature will have the final say with ratification of any rate hike or reduction.”
“Retirees, seniors and all those on fixed incomes, not-for-profits, taxpayer-funded municipalities, and people with disabilities, as well as all ratepayers, have to be protected in a fair way by those they have placed in trust as their duly elected representatives. Without this law, we are subject to non-elected, face-less bureaucrats who are not fully accountable to the citizenry,” said Tedisco.