Citing Con Edison’s lackluster performance during Superstorm Sandy, Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to deny Con Ed’s requested rate increase for 2014. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Cuomo is demanding that utility companies be more accountable for their service.
According to the report, Con Ed is seeking a 4 percent rate increase on electricity bills and a 1.5 percent increase on gas bills. Cuomo was straightforward in his opposition to allowing Con Ed to raise their rates:
“It’s clear that now is not the time for Con Edison to demand that its customers pay more,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement…
In a letter to the bi-partisan PSC, Mr. Cuomo said last year’s hurricane and the Metro-North outage “reinforced the importance of a reliable electric system and the need to hold utilities accountable for their preparedness and response, especially when considering potential rate hikes.”
The letter noted that ConEd customers pay among the highest electricity prices in the nation, “making it essential that the Commission scrutinize any request for further rate increases.”
Con Ed responded to Cuomo’s comments by indicating that infrastructure investment must be made in case of future storms.
“We will continue working with the Commission, and state and local officials, on the importance of protecting New York City and Westchester from the next major storm. We also must continue making investments necessary to maintain the high level of reliability New Yorkers expect and deserve,” Con Ed said in a statement.
Cuomo dismissed the argument that Con Ed needed to raise rates to improve their service.
“Given the historically low interest rates and the economic and income growth forecasts, such investments can be made without the rate increase requested by the utility. Maintaining stable rates and indeed, lowering rates whenever feasible, is critical to supporting our economic recovery and creating jobs in the region,” Cuomo wrote.