BRINDISI: ‘SHOCKING’ PROPOSAL FROM NATIONAL GRID FOR DELIVERY RATE INCREASES COULD LEAVE FAMILIES AND BUSINESS OWNERS SMOLDERING
UNDER A PLAN NATIONAL GRID HAS FILED WITH THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, MOST OF ITS ELECTRIC AND GAS CUSTOMERS WOULD FACE A MORE THAN 10 PERCENT MONTHLY HIKE IN THEIR UTILITY DELIVERY CHARGE
ASSEMBLYMAN: NATIONAL GRID SHUT OFF A RECORD NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS THE LAST TWO YEARS, SHOWING MANY CANNOT SHOULDER HIGH UTILITY BILLS
BRINDISI: “THIS PLAN COULD BE THE DEATH KNELL FOR BUSINESSES ALREADY FACED WITH HIGH OPERATING COSTS”
(ALBANY) — Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica says National Grid’s request for a significant increase in electric and gas delivery charges for its upstate customers could lead to more families facing shutoff notices, and to more businesses considering a move out of state.
“National Grid’s proposal for higher utility delivery charges is truly shocking. The average family would pay $180 more a year if this increase goes through, and that is simply unacceptable. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from constituents is that delivery charges listed on their utility bills are simply too high. Raising these charges by more than 10 percent could have devastating impacts on residential and commercial rate payers alike,” Brindisi said.
“National Grid has shut off a record number of residential customers over the last two years—more than 66,000 each year. If this ill-advised plan goes through, this number will only increase. I also am concerned that larger commercial customers would see their bills go up by an average of over $1,100 a month. This type of rate hike could be the death knell for some of them already faced with high operating costs,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi says he has written to Interim PSC Chairman Gregg Sayre, asking him to carefully review National Grid’s contention that it needs more revenue for infrastructure improvements and to hire more technical staff. He says this goal cannot be met by placing the burden on the backs of struggling families and business owners.
The following is the text of Brindisi’s letter to PSC Chairman Sayre:
Dear Chairman Sayre:
I am writing to you to express my deep concern over the request filed with the Public Service Commission on April 28, 2017 by National Grid to change electricity and natural gas delivery prices for upstate New York customers, which if approved would take effect April 1, 2018.
If approved as National Grid proposes, this reset of delivery charges could have devastating impacts on residential and commercial rate payers.
In recent years, one of the most common concerns I hear from my constituents in the Mohawk Valley is the high cost of electric and gas delivery charges on National Grid customers’ monthly bills. Data from the National Grid filings before the PSC estimates that the average household in upstate New York would pay at least $180 a year more for gas and electric if this plan is approved.
It also is not unusual for me to hear from constituents dealing with shutoff notices from National Grid. Over 66,000 customers were shut off by the utility in both 2015 and 2016—the highest rate in years. While the economy is definitely on the upswing in the Mohawk Valley, many people still are living paycheck to paycheck, and even though this plan proposes spreading out the increase over several years, a ten percent hike for residential customers would only increase the number of families faced with shutoff notices.
I also am very concerned about the impact these increases could have on National Grid’s commercial electric and gas customers. For example, smaller commercial electric customers would see a monthly increase of 11.1 percent in their bills, or over $75 a month, while large commercial electric users would face an increase of $1,111 a month—or 7 percent.
One of the most common concerns I hear in economic development meetings is the high cost of utilities, and utility delivery charges. Sending National Grid’s commercial customers a notice that they are facing a $10,000 annual hike in the cost of their electricity could be the death knell for some businesses that already are faced with high operating costs.
I am respectfully asking you to carefully review National Grid’s requested increase in gas and electric delivery prices. While I understand the utility’s stated need for infrastructure improvements and more technical staff, I believe this need must be balanced with current economic conditions and the financial conditions of its residential and commercial customers. If you determine that National Grid’s infrastructure must be upgraded, the improvements must not be placed on the backs of ratepayers in a sudden double-digit percent delivery charge hike that will leave many families struggling, and also harm our efforts to attract new businesses to upstate New York.
Thank you very much for your interest in this very important issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to call my office.