County Leaders Object To NYSEG Rate Increases

By: Shawn Magrath

County leaders object to NYSEG rate increases (Sun File Photo)

NORWICH – NYSEG's latest pitch to the New York State Public Service Commission to raise electric rates has Chenango County leaders questioning the likely impact on residents and municipalities county-wide.

The County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Monday opposing NYSEG's proposal which, if approved by the state, would raise electric bills 23.7 percent, meaning the average homeowner would foot an additional $10.17 per month.

The company's additionally seeking a monthly gas rate increase of 1.9 percent ($1.05 paid by the average homeowner). Company spokesmen say that increases will offset costs accrued by the state's push for cleaner energy, tree management, and emergency preparedness.

Rate hikes would collectively increase the utility company's annual base rate by close to $163 million.

But county officials are skeptical, arguing that such substantial rate increases would have lasting effects on residents and local governments, chiefly those with a downtown lighting district.

“This is going to have a profound impact, and I'm not sure a lot of residential or business customers even know this has gone before the New York State Public Service Commission,” said Robert Jeffrey, supervisor for the City of Norwich. “Cities, towns, and villages try to keep their taxes in that 2 percent tax cap; yet we have NYSEG jumping energy rates 23 percent and another 3 percent for gas … I think our legislative leaders need to be more vocal to help our taxpayers here in the county.”

NYSEG (which initially filed for rate increase in conjunction with Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation back in May) says the company has the lowest average residential customer base delivery bills in New York. In a letter to the Public Service Commission, the company cites delivery bills that are roughly 26 percent lower than National Grid.

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