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Double-Digit Jumps in Gas and Electric Bills to Hit Next Week

New York City

con edison, gas and electric rates, public service commission, co-op and condo boards, fossil fuels.
July 24, 2023

Perfect timing! With another heat weave set to smother New York City, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) has given Con Edison the green light to raise gas and electricity bills by double digits beginning August 1, Crain's reports.

Under the plan, the average Con Edison customer's monthly electric bill will go up by 9.1% or $14.44, while the typical gas customers’ bill will rise by 8.4% or $17.28. The Con Edison rate increase will extend to electric customers in most of New York City and Westchester county, and the utility’s gas customers who are concentrated in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The rising rates will be followed by additional increases over the next two years. In 2024, the average electric bill will go up by an additional 4.2% or $7.20, then by another 1.4% or $2.43 in 2025. Gas rates will climb another 6.7% or $14.90 in 2024, and increase to 6.6% or $15.61 in 2025.

State regulators approved the final proposal in a 7-to-1 vote after months of negotiation with the utility, which originally sought far higher rate hikes. Rory Christian, the chief executive and chairman of the PSC, said during the final Thursday vote that he believes the hefty increases “strike a delicate balance.”

The utility says the new revenue will be spent on improvements to service and to make the energy grid more resilient against severe weather, and will also support the state’s clean energy mandates. “With today’s approval from the PSC, Con Edison can further support New York’s transition away from fossil fuels by investing in the electric grid to accommodate increased demand as New Yorkers electrify their vehicles and the heating in their homes and businesses,” Tim Cawley, chief executive and chairman of Con Edison, said in a statement.

But some critics take issue with the utility’s plans to also invest millions into its existing fossil fuel systems, and say those efforts run counter to state climate law that requires the grid to fully transition to renewable energy by 2040. They also noted that New Yorkers already have some of the highest electricity bills in the nation.

Meagan Burton, senior attorney with environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, described the PSC’s ruling as “disappointing.” She added: “This violation of the climate law is unacceptable, especially at a time when our communities are dealing with oppressive heat waves, deadly flooding, and dangerous air quality." She slammed the PSC for “locking in costly investments in fossil fuel infrastructure for the coming decades and ignoring the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers” who may struggle to afford the increases in their bills.

Tracey Edwards, the only PSC commissioner to vote against the proposal, said the rate hikes were still too high even after they were negotiated down.

“I cannot get past that the company originally asked for way too high of an amount to then get to this end result,” Edwards said during the vote. “I believe that if they had come in at a much more just and reasonable initial starting point we could somehow have had an even better result.”

Mayor Eric Adams's administration tepidly backed the rate hikes, saying they represent “significant savings” for New Yorkers compared to Con Edison’s original proposal.

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