MORRISVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York State’s Public Service Commission is expected to decide on Thursday, Oct. 12, whether it will permit NYSEG to increase rates for customers’ energy.

The plan up for consideration spreads out price increases over three years instead of all at once, as was suggested in a previous proposal already rejected.

BusinessRate Year 1Rate Year 2Rate Year 3
NYSEG Electric6.6%7.3%8.2%
NYSEG Natural Gas2.0%2.0%2.1%
RG&E Electric5.0%5.3%5.7%
RG&E Natural Gas3.4%3.6%3.9%
Data courtesy of NYSEG

NYSEG’s president defended the proposal in an interview with NewsChannel 9 outside one of the company’s substations in Morrisville.

CEO Patricia Nilsen explained, “Because we have the lowest rates of any investor-owned utility in New York State, we try to keep it affordable, but it means we have some aging equipment out there that is in need of replacement.”

She said the steep increase balances out a small increase the last time prices had to change.

“While people’s eggs, milk, gas, lumber, any sort of cost, went up during the pandemic, we really mitigated our impacts to save customers money,” she said. “Now we need to make that up.”

Nilsen explained the added revenue will fund many upgrades, including new utility poles to replace 60-year-old poles, regular tree trimming to protect lines from storms, animal guards, and a focus on environmentally friendly upgrades.

The company says the price change is necessary, but some state lawmakers hope the Public Service Commissioner rejects the plan.

New York State Assemblywoman Anna Kelles said, “It is unacceptable that New York residents have had to endure countless billing issues like double billing, faulty meter readings, inexplicably high bills, as well as poor and often unnavigable customer service support and regular power outages and gas leaks from New York State Electric and Gas. These ongoing issues have caused undue stress and financial hardship for many, and it is clear that the utility company has not met its responsibilities to consumers, making their request for increased rates unjustifiable and irresponsible. We should not approve rate hikes while these problems persist. The Public Service Commission must exercise its authority to ensure that New York residents receive reliable, affordable, and accurate utility services. It is true that we have a need to upgrade transmission lines while we electrify our power grid to meet our climate goals, but we cannot pass this full fiscal responsibility onto rate payers, particularly for a quality of service that they are not receiving. I, along with my constituents, advocates and legislative colleagues, call on the Public Service Commission to stand up for the rights and interests of consumers and reject this proposal.”

NYSEG says it’s totally renovated its customer service system and hopes customers with previous complaints try again.