New Yorkers continue to struggle with enormous and abrupt surges in their energy bills while recovering from the financial pains of the pandemic; and now State Senator Kevin Parker urges the Public Service Commission (“PSC”) to deny the historical rate increases proposed by Con Ed’s in its 2022 rate case filing.
Instead of requesting a rate case increase of such a scale, Senator Parker urges that date Con Ed focus on mitigating costs for customers and delivering reliable service. To this date Con Ed’s customers, both residential and business (and the City) currently face unaffordable utility rates and crushing utility debt. And despite receiving prior warning before the January and February 2022 cold snaps that astronomically escalated customer bills, Con Ed still failed to properly hedge the prices for electricity and natural gas and proactively notify consumers of upcoming major bill impacts. Because of these factors, an additional increase would be even more unaffordable, unjust and unreasonable.
Here’s what Senator Parker had to say on the matter: “As you know, in 2020 and 2021 the residents of Con Edison’s service and small business owners struggled with significantly higher monthly utility bills while undergoing the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse. Then, in early 2022 as it seemed New York might be emerging from the pandemic, the Con Ed “bill surge” vastly increased all of the company’s customers’ energy bills. As a consequence, I reiterate that it would be unjust and unreasonable for the PSC to approve Con Ed’s historically large rate request of more than a 17% increase in electric delivery rates, and 28% in gas delivery rates.”
Senator Parker especially urges for the denial of the rate case because it is our low-income and moderate-income residential customers, people of color generally, and traditionally marginalized communities who are the ones disproportionately affected by the current rates and all rate increases generally. While paying the highest rates, low-income New Yorkers unfortunately experience the worst service with power outages and failures year-round. Con Ed should instead work diligently to lower the costs of the vast capital construction projects as we transition into renewable energy so that those important investments and necessary activity do not drive low-income and middle-class households into poverty, or into leaving the state altogether.
Based upon this information, Senator Parker now strongly recommends that Consolidated Edison’s rate case be denied.