Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris Asks Governor Hochul: Look Into PSC’s Decision To Hike National Grid Rates

Decision by NY’s Utility Regulators Raised Rates for National Grid to Build Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, in Conflict with Landmark Climate Law

ASTORIA – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris has written to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to look into the recent decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to allow National Grid to raise rates in their downstate region to build out their fossil fuel infrastructure. In his letter to Governor Hochul, Senator Gianaris argues hiking rates to build this infrastructure runs afoul of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the nation-leading climate law passed in 2019.

 “Ratepayers should not be investing in yesterday’s infrastructure to address tomorrow’s challenges. That’s why the Senate led the way and enacted the CLCPA. The PSC’s decision does not comport with the goals that the Governor and Legislature share,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am asking Governor Hochul to review the PSC’s decision, because frontline environmental justice communities should not pay for the same infrastructure that caused the havoc we’re already experiencing.”

 “We thank the Deputy Majority Leader for joining the growing number of elected officials calling on Governor Hochul to review the Public Service Commission’s approval of National Grid’s egregious rate hike that is forcing millions of New Yorkers already struggling with utility debt to pay higher monthly bills for new fracked gas projects in 2021,” said Lee Ziesche, organizer with Sane Energy Project. “The Department of Environmental Conservation recently found that two new fracked gas power plants did not comply with the CLCPA and we need equal enforcement of our law across all New York State agencies. From Astoria to North Brooklyn, our communities are united behind ensuring New York’s groundbreaking climate and environmental justice law is upheld and our neighborhoods are protected.” 

Senator Gianrais’ letter comes on the heels of Governor Hochul signing his legislation (A.5838/S.1199) mandating a consumer advocate have a voting seat on the PSC. The PSC is comprised of five members. The board regulates telecommunications, electricity, steam, natural gas, and water service delivery. Currently, there are no membership requirements. This bill would mandate one member have expertise in utility consumer advocacy. All members are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

Senator Gianaris’ full letter can be found here.