Staffers at the New York State Public Service Commission have signed off on ConEd’s plan to impose the largest rate hike in the company’s history. ConEd asked for $1.2 billion, but PSC staffers think the utility is entitled to only $618 million. New Yorkers already pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation.
“This is all part of the sham that goes on with every rate hike request,” said Assemblyman Michael N. Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who sits on the Assembly’s power committee and who has criticized the utility for its response to the 2006 power failure in his borough. “Con Edison asks for more than it expects to get,” he said. “The P.S.C. rides in on its white horse and takes credit for slashing the request. But the end result is still what Con Edison wanted all along.”
ConEd’s original proposal would have raised the average residential customer’s bill by 17%. The PSC’s recommendation will probably result in a hike of 10%-12%, though the exact figure is not yet known. The increase would apply to ConEd’s transmission costs, which are charged to ConEd customers and customers with other energy service companies (ESCOs.)
The Commission will hold public hearings in October before releasing a final decision by next March.