Gov. Hochul condemns RG&E’s 13-22% price increase proposal for Rochester

Gov.  Hochul condemns RG&E's 13-22% price increase proposal for Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a statement Thursday criticizing Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) for planning to raise the utility rates.

According to officials from the governor’s office, RG&E plans to raise electric rates by 31% and gas rates by 20.9%.

“It’s outrageous and unacceptable that utility companies are proposing the largest rate increase in recent history for more than 1.2 million consumers in Upstate New York,” Gov. Hochul said in part. “The Department of Public Service is legally required to review all proposed rate increases, and I urge them to scrutinize every number and word of this proposal to protect New York families from unjustified and unfair rate increases.

This comes after Avangrid, the owner of RG&E and NYSEG, announced the two companies filed for proposed changes to delivery rates with the New York State Public Service Commission.

Officials from Avangrid said their plans, called “Reliable Energy New York: Investing in Our Future,” outline investments in reliable and resilient upgrades to their infrastructure, more customer resources, more smart technology, and enabling clean energy.

Officials from Avangrid also said that this plan proposes a rate structure that would add $10-$18 to the average electric or gas customer’s monthly costs, or a 13-22% increase on each bill — something Gov. Hochul takes issue with.

According to a press release from the company, even with a $10-$18 monthly increase, both RG&E and NYSEG would have “among the lowest electric and gas rates in New York.”

However, with inflation driving up costs on everything from gasoline to groceries, the governor said she thinks it is now a bad time for additional household costs for New Yorkers.

“At a time when so many families are struggling because of global economic headwinds and nationwide inflation, I will keep fighting to get money back in the pockets of New Yorkers by accelerating middle-class tax cuts, giving consumers a gas tax holiday that begins next week, and providing rent and utility relief to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” Gov. Hochul said.

Under Public Service Law, these proposed rate increases would be reviewed, and if accepted, would be for a one-year period, and would not immediately go into effect.

Members of the New York State Department of Public Service offered insight into what customers should expect, outlining what’s required for the rate’s approval in the following statement:

NYSEG and RG&E’s rate filing will be scrutinized as part of the statutorily required 11-month review process to ensure customers’ and customers’ interests are fully protected. Department staff will pour over the utilities’ books to identify ways to cut costs. In the last NYSEG/RG&E rate case, for example, the PSC approved rates that were fully 70 percent below what was originally requested in the first year.

And, over the last seven months, there were three major energy rate cases decided by the PSC, of ​​which only $69 million of the $223 million requested in the first year was approved. Rest assured, nothing about the NYSEG/RG&E proposed rate increase will be taken for granted or assumed. A PSC decision regarding NYSEG and RG&E is anticipated in April 2023.

The aforementioned review period is legally required by the New York State energy authority.

Officials say this process typically develops opposing positions and recommendations for alternative approaches to rate filing.

You can view RG&E and NYSEG’s full outline for “Reliable Energy NY” here.

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