Sen. Carlucci Stands Up Against O&R's Proposed Rate Hike

March 21, 2018

If you are against O&R's proposed rate hike then sign this petition. Tuesday I made this public comment to the Public Service Commission:

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. has filed a request to raise the rates their customers will be charged for both electric and gas service. This request is deeply concerning and should be denied.

It is my understanding that if  O & R’s request is granted, the average monthly cost a residential customer will pay for electricity (600 kilowatts hours) will increase from $122.03 to S128.21. This increase means consumers will pay an additional $6.18 per month, or an increase of more than 5%. Additionally, the average cost of gas (100 cubic feet per month) will jump from $133.64 to $137.76, which is $4.12 more per month; more than a 3% increase.

O & R’s current financial situation underscores the irresponsibility of raising energy prices for their customers yet again. According to an independent audit of 0 & R conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, O& R’s total operating revenue increased by $29 million between 2015 and 2017, while O & R’s net income rose by $12 million during that same period. In 2017, O & R reported their highest net income (SM million) in at least four years. Considering these recent profits, one must question why a rate hike is necessary at all. Many may find O & R’s attempt to force their customers to pay higher energy bills to be outright insulting.

In addition, it is imperative that the Public Service Commission, hereafter “PSC,” is cognizant of the recent change to the federal corporate tax. When O & R’s rates were last approved in 2015, corporate tax rate was 35%, a substantially higher rate than the recently enacted 21%. 0 & R has publicly addressed the recent tax cut and appears willing to pass their savings on to their customers. However, PSC must realize that the lower tax rate will result in a financial windfall for 0 & R, unless the hard working families and businesses that rely on O & R for energy see these tax savings in lower utility bills.

I ask that the Public Service Commission deny the request to raise the costs of energy consumption, as any increase is an unfair burden on the residents and businesses of Rockland County. Such rate increases will have an enormous fiscal impact within our community and upon our residents, specifically those that live on a fixed income. I stand firmly against this rate increase, as any increase in utility rates will have significant financial effects for O & R’s ratepayers.

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