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Politics

Gianaris Calls on PSC to Investigate Spike in Con Edison Bills in Queens

February 10, 2022

ASTORIA – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris is calling on the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to investigate recent spiked supply costs for Consolidated Edison customers in New York City. Senator Gianaris, whose office has been flooded by concerned residents, says some customers’ bills have increased by up to 300%. In addition to urging the PSC to investigate, Senator Gianaris is once again calling for a public power option for New Yorkers.

“These skyrocketing, unexpected costs are hurting New Yorkers’ pockets at an already difficult time. Con Ed needs to answer for this change and help make customers whole,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Con Ed’s poor explanations and concerning performance once again show the need for New Yorkers to have public power.”

For days, Queens residents have been reaching out to Senator Gianaris’ office with concerned calls, emails, and tweets expressing their exasperation at suddenly sky-high Con Edison bills. Some residents reported their bills had increased by 300%.

Senator Gianaris has been a long-time supporter of public power, authoring an op-ed in 2021 about the need for more publicly-owned renewable energy sources. He grilled Con Edison President Timothy Cawley during a 2019 legislative hearing about serious blackouts experienced in New York City.

He has also been active on PSC reform, pushing the state’s utility regulator to be focused on consumers, rather than corporate needs. Senator Gianaris has authored measures including requiring specific qualifications for Commission members and a recently-enacted law (S.1199) requiring one voting member of the PSC be a professional consumer advocate. The PSC is comprised of five members. The board regulates telecommunications, electricity, steam, natural gas, and water service delivery.

Read Senator Gianaris’ full letter below:

February 8, 2022

Rory M. Christian, Chair

New York State Public Service Commission

Empire State Plaza

Agency Building 3

Albany, NY 12223-1350

 

Dear Mr. Christian,

 

I write to urgently request the Public Service Commission investigate recent increases in supply charges by Consolidated Edison. My office has been flooded with concerns from Queens residents who have seen their bills increase by hundreds of dollars. The PSC must look into this matter, and do so with haste.

My constituents, no stranger to high energy bills already, have seen their bills increase dramatically by up to 300%. Consolidated Edison has said publicly this is related to increased costs from their suppliers. The PSC must seek answers to the following questions: Why have the company’s suppliers raised their costs so dramatically? Why were consumers not notified of this development beforehand so they could plan accordingly? What can be done to reduce these costs for Con Ed customers during the current billing cycle – even if it means subsidizing these drastic increases. New Yorkers also deserve to know how this will be prevented in the future.

This is the type of pernicious behavior, and dismissive explanation, that has convinced me and so many others that the time has come to support public power for New Yorkers. These increased utility costs are hurting thousands of New Yorkers. Until the Legislature enacts a systemic solution, the PSC must investigate, act, and work to provide relief to New York’s ratepayers – now.

 

Sincerely,

Senator Michael Gianaris

Deputy Majority Leader

 

CC:     Rory Lancman, Special Counsel for Ratepayer Protection

Michelle Phillips, Secretary to the Commission

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