Albany plans to increase electricity costs statewide

Nov 9, 2016

Electric utility customers across New York state could see a jump in their bills next year. New York state's Public Service Commission is pushing through a rate hike that includes millions of dollars in corporate welfare. 

Credit The Empire Center

The reason for the rate hike is twofold. First, to meet Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal of having 50 percent of the state's electricity come from more expensive renewable sources, such as wind and solar by 2030, the PSC plans to add a Clean Energy surcharge to electric bills starting in January. But the process has not been transparent, according to Ken Girardin an analyst with the Empire Center for Public Policy.
    
"The final Clean Energy Standard that was voted on, on August 1, was different from the one that was being shown to members of the public as recently as the Friday beforehand," Girardin said.  

Second: Low cost natural gas fired power plants are hurting the nuclear industry. So Giradin says, Cuomo is pushing another surcharge to keep Exelon from closing its three upstate nuclear power plants. He says the Empire Center's concerned about corporate welfare costing electric customers an estimated $3.4 billion over five years.    

"It should really give people pause about whether public policy is being done in a fair and equitable manner. When you have one company walking away with that kind of payday, on the backs of the taxpayers, without a single vote from the state legislature," Girardin said.   

According to the state's energy czar Richard Kauffman, closing the plants would cost consumers $7.00 a month. While keeping nuclear going would cost $2.00 a month. A federal lawsuit to block the surcharge was filed in October by Exelon's competitors and other energy companies.