Thursday, September 17, 2009

NYSEG, RG&E File New Rates for Electric and Gas Service Seeking Major Increases; Proposing Improved Low-Income Customer Protections

On September 17, 2009, NYSEG and RG&E filed new rates that, if approved, would significantly increase bills for electricity and natural gas customers. The utilities had not filed new delivery rates for many years.

When new rates with major increases are filed, the PSC customarily suspends them, opens a proceeding, conducts evidentiary hearings, and sets new rates in an eleven month process.

PULP is reviewing the filings, which include hundreds of pages of testimony and exhibits for each of the four cases. Although the newly filed rates would result in major increases, significant improvements in low income rate reductions and in programs for customers in arrears and energy efficiency are included. NYSEG is proposing reduced residential rates for low income HEAP customers that will cut bills by $15 per month, and RG&E is proposing an $8 per month reduction.

Typical residential bills of NYSEG and RG&E have been significantly lower than those of other New York utilities. RG&E, which resisted selling its power plants until agreeing to do so at the insistence of the PSC in a recent merger case with Iberdrola, the Spanish utility, has the lowest rates of any major investor owned utility in the state.

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