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Cashman urges against proposal of increase to electric, gas rates

Carly Newton, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.  


    Sep. 30—PLATTSBURGH — Speaking to the Public Service Commission (PSC) at a public hearing Wednesday, Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman urged against an approval of NYSEG's (New York State Electric and Gas) 2023 rate proposal, which outlined a substantial raise in gas and electric rates for residents.

    If the proposal is approved, New Yorkers could see their monthly bills increase by upwards of $18, Cashman said.

    "There is something called the Public Utility Law Project of New York, and I have been following the NYSEG proposal. Back in May of 2022, the companies filed their original proposals to deliver rates, effective May 1, 2023, and NYSEG is seeking approximately $317 million in new revenues — that translates to approximately 31% over base rates on the electric side and about 19% on the gas side," he said.

    "Those numbers are somewhat fluid at the moment, because I believe there's been some other projections that have occurred, but nonetheless, we're talking approximately about a 30% base rate on the electric side alone. Which is significant — absolutely significant."


    The rate increase is tied to NYSEG's need to invest in their infrastructure, Cashman said.

    "NYSEG is saying things like, 'It's critical for us to invest in our infrastructure,' and it is critical to have good, strong infrastructure, but at the same time, our utility companies are seeing record levels of profit, and they need to dial back the impact on customers and invest some of that profit into the product they are delivering," he said.

    "They made, what many would consider, and what I would certainly consider, an outrageous proposal and I really am very hopeful that the commissioners of the PSC will protect New Yorkers."

    A May 26 press release from NYSEG confirmed that the company was looking to raise rates to fund "infrastructure investments for a more resilient, sustainable and smart system, more resources to support customers and local communities, energy efficiency programs and investments to enable renewable energy."

    He added that being a part of that public hearing, and speaking on behalf of the North Country residents was important for him to do.

    "As a local, elected official, I felt it was important to have a Plattsburgh voice and a North Country voice locally, advocating for taxpayers and residents on this issue. Their proposal will put a burden on customers and it's going to compound the fiscal stresses for folks living with it," Cashman said.

    "I strongly urge the PSC to deny these rates. I am very fearful that people will be forced to make difficult decisions where it may even come to things like heating their house vs. putting food on their table, and that's just not right."


    Twitter: CarlySNewton


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