New York, NY
Today, a group of five consumer and environmental advocates, along with Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani (AD 36), announced their opposition to a deal struck between the utility giant Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) and state regulators that would raise customer bills by $3.9 billion over three years. The deal, which is being proposed for approval by New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC), is expected to have the following delivery bill impacts for the average residential Con Edison customer’s bill:
- The average electric residential customer will experience an increase of $6 per month, and over three years, this will become an increase of $18 total per month over current rates. (this is a 9% per year increase for a total of 27% increase)
- The average heating gas residential customer will experience an increase of $13.50 per month, and over three years, this will become an increase of $40.60 per month over current rates. (this is a 9% per year for a total of 28% after 3 years versus current rates)
- The average cooking gas residential customer will experience an increase of $2 per month, and over three years, this will become $6 per month over current rates (this is a 6% annual in each of the three years for a total of 18% after 3 years after current rates).
- Customers would also be required to pay higher monthly fixed charges — 18% for electric and 20% to 34% for gas — no matter how much energy they consume.
This news comes as customers are already reeling from the economic effects of COVID-19, volatile fossil fuel prices, inflation and income insecurity. NYC metro area households have already experienced a 32.7% year-over-year increase in energy costs between 2021 and 2022. The proposal would dramatically increase gas rates to pay for maintaining and expanding ConEd’s gas system, even as New York’s Climate Law requires a rapid decrease in gas use.
The intervenors, including the Public Utility Law Project (PULP), Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), Sane Energy Project (SANE), WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT), Earthjustice, and the Office of Queens Assemblymember Zohran K. Mamdani, expressed deep concern over customer bill impacts, proposals to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, and the historically-high rate of return for shareholders that the Company is seeking. The rate increases associated with gas distribution are particularly alarming in that they demonstrate a lack of commitment by the Company and the NY Department of Public Service to achieve the climate and equity goals mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).
In response to the proposal, the intervenors released the following statement:
“We are extremely disappointed in the Joint Proposal put forward by the ConEd and Dept. of Public Service Commission staff. Many Con Edison customers are struggling due to volatile fossil fuel price surges and inflation. We already know that low- and fixed-income households, communities of color and disadvantaged communities pay a disproportionate amount of their household income toward their energy bills. If granted by the Commission, this proposal will only exacerbate the unaffordability crisis that these households face. It is simply unsustainable.
“We are deeply disturbed by the Company and Staff’s business-as-usual approach to the climate crisis. Instead of finding ways to make meaningful investments in fossil fuel alternatives, this proposal would invest billions of dollars to build and expand more gas pipelines and extend the life of a liquefied gas plant and pipeline in Queens that threatens our health and safety and perpetuates our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”