Metzger opposes NYSEG proposal to hike rates

State Sen. Jen Metzger is urging the state Public Service Commission to reject a request by New York State Electric and Gas Corp. to raise electrical delivery rates by 23 percent, a proposal she said would add $10.20 on average to customers’ monthly bills.

In a seven-page letter released Thursday, the Rosendale Democrat argued the rate increase would place “an unreasonable demand” on her constituents and objected that it had been justified largely by the desire to increase the utility’s profits by 9.5 percent. Parts of her 42nd Senate District that get electrical service from NYSEG include much of Sullivan County and the Town of Shawangunk in Ulster.

“The rate plan must be affordable to residents, many of whom struggle to pay their bills,” Metzger wrote in the Dec. 30 letter. “Nearly 80 percent of the communities that I represent in NYSEG territory fall below the state median household income.”

Metzger also criticized NYSEG for poor “preventive maintenance,” which she blamed for excessive power outages in the Catskills, and urged the commission to ensure that NYSEG’s rate plan supports the state’s carbon-reduction goals. She also opposed the closure of NYSEG’s walk-in office in Liberty in Sullivan County as a hardship for the poor and elderly.

The Public Service Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposed rate hike on Feb. 3.

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