ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a rate increase for electric and gas National Grid customers in upstate New York on Thursday. However, it was much less than the company had asked for.
The PSC also approved an infrastructure plan to expand natural gas lines despite public protest and pressure from politicians who said the plan went against the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s goal of New York operating on 100% renewable energy and net-zero emissions by 2050.
A group of 36 state and local legislators told the PSC they wished National Grid, which paid out millions of dollars to shareholders, would have shown more empathy to its customers who are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has required New Yorkers to make one sacrifice after another. We had hoped National Grid would demonstrate its commitment to our communities and its customers by making some sacrifices of its own,” they said in a letter.
Hundreds of New Yorkers urged the PSC to reconsider National Grid’s proposed tax hike that would have raised electricity costs to between 6.24-6.72% for customers using 600 kilowatts and 8.41% at the end of three years for gas customers using 82 therms a month.
“My national grid bill is already on the edge of what I can afford, and they are the only major company I can get my utilities through in the area,” said Lee Ferrini. “They are using their monopoly to choke out their customers.”
The PSC approved an increase of between 1.4-1.9% in National Grid’s electricity revenue and an increase of 1.8-1.9% in gas revenue. Customers can expect to pay a bit more than that though. Below are the rate increases PSC said customers can expect:
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**For customers using 82 therms of gas a month.
“The joint proposal we adopted today allows for funding for the company to maintain safe and reliable service while moderating rate impacts during the term of the rate plan and mitigating the impacts to ratepayers suffering the financial consequences of the pandemic,” said PSC Chair Rory M. Christian.