NYSEG and RG&E customers in New York will soon be facing significant rate increases on their utility bills. The approved rate increases, which were unanimously voted for by the state’s Public Service Commission, include a 22.1% increase for electric use and a 6.1% increase for gas over the course of three years for NYSEG customers. RG&E customers will also see rate increases of 16% for electric and 10.9% for gas over three years.
The rate increases are part of a plan by NYSEG and RG&E to invest $2.1 billion in replacing aging infrastructure, trimming trees to prevent power outages, and upgrading systems to detect and restore power after major storms. The utilities will also be investing an additional $900 million in transmission projects and other upgrades to help the state achieve its carbon-free electrical grid goals.
A significant portion of the funding, $1 billion, will be used to hire 231 full-time employees to improve customer service. However, ratepayer advocates have criticized the rate hikes, arguing that they are unaffordable and unfair, especially given the ongoing billing problems and safety failures experienced by the utilities. Additionally, they argue that the rate hikes will put more people in debt and strain small businesses still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NYSEG and RG&E president and CEO, Trish Nilsen, defended the rate increases, stating that they are necessary to make critical investments in infrastructure, improve reliability, and support the utilities’ green energy future. However, many customers and advocates remain concerned about the impact of these rate hikes on their financial stability.
Starting next month, NYSEG and RG&E customers can expect to see double-digit rate hikes on their utility bills. NYSEG residential electric customers using 600 kWh per month will see an average increase of $9.94 or 10.3% in their monthly bill in November of this year. For RG&E residential electric customers using the same amount of electricity, the average increase will be $6.47 or 7.4% in November.
The rate increases for gas vary slightly. NYSEG residential gas heating customers using an average of 100 therms per month will see an increase of $4.96 or 3.6% in their monthly bill in November. For RG&E residential gas heating customers using the same amount of gas, the average increase will be $5.29 or 4.6% in November.
Overall, these rate increases pose a financial burden for NYSEG and RG&E customers in New York. Although the utilities argue that the investments in infrastructure and clean energy are necessary, ratepayer advocates are concerned about the impact on customers already facing financial difficulties. It remains to be seen how this will affect customers and the overall energy landscape in the state.