Article

NYSEG seeking a rate increase; PSC must OK request that would raise average month bill $21

New York State Electric & Gas, which serves 45,000 customers in the Capital Region, on Tuesday filed for a rate increase to shore up its financial condition. The increase ...comes just four months after Spanish utility giant Iberdrola SA acquired NYSEG and other utilities in New York and New England in a $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. ...Late Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, issued a statement saying the proposal should be rejected by the PSC "without hesitation."

ALBANY - New York State Electric & Gas, which serves 45,000 customers in the Capital Region, on Tuesday filed for a rate increase to shore up its financial condition.

The increase, which must be approved by the state Public Service Commission, comes just four months after Spanish utility giant Iberdrola SA acquired NYSEG and other utilities in New York and New England in a $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

State political leaders, including Gov. David Paterson, supported the merger because of Iberdrola's financial stability and its pledge to invest $2 billion in wind-farm projects in New York.

The proposed increase would add $21 to the monthly bill of the average gas and electric customer. That includes a hike of $8.80, or 9.9 percent, on the average electric bill, and an increase of $12.20, or 8.8 percent, on the average gas bill.

NYSEG is based in Rochester and has hundreds of thousands of customers throughout upstate New York.

Rochester Gas & Electric, a sister company that primarily serves the greater Rochester area, is seeking a similar rate increase.

In its proposal, NYSEG says it has not raised electric delivery rates since 1996 - rates have actually decreased twice... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

ALBANY - New York State Electric & Gas, which serves 45,000 customers in the Capital Region, on Tuesday filed for a rate increase to shore up its financial condition.

The increase, which must be approved by the state Public Service Commission, comes just four months after Spanish utility giant Iberdrola SA acquired NYSEG and other utilities in New York and New England in a $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

State political leaders, including Gov. David Paterson, supported the merger because of Iberdrola's financial stability and its pledge to invest $2 billion in wind-farm projects in New York.

The proposed increase would add $21 to the monthly bill of the average gas and electric customer. That includes a hike of $8.80, or 9.9 percent, on the average electric bill, and an increase of $12.20, or 8.8 percent, on the average gas bill.

NYSEG is based in Rochester and has hundreds of thousands of customers throughout upstate New York.

Rochester Gas & Electric, a sister company that primarily serves the greater Rochester area, is seeking a similar rate increase.

In its proposal, NYSEG says it has not raised electric delivery rates since 1996 - rates have actually decreased twice - and gas rates have been flat since 1994.

Electric utilities do not control the price of the electricity or gas they deliver, so they are not responsible for about half of the cost of the bill. The PSC regulates how much they can charge for the delivery portion of the bill.

NYSEG says it wants to hike rates to raise its credit rating, currently at BBB, which is the lowest of any utility in the state. NYSEG and RG&E want to undertake $800 million in infrastructure work along with other economic development and low-income projects.

PSC spokesman James Denn said Tuesday that NYSEG and RG&E are precluded by the agency's approval of the Iberdrola deal from filing for a rate increase for one year unless they can demonstrate that safety and reliability are at risk. The merger with Iberdrola took place in September

"Department staff is expected to undertake an immediate review of whether the companies' filings have met the standard set in the commission order (approving the deal)," Denn said.

Late Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, issued a statement saying the proposal should be rejected by the PSC "without hesitation."

"When Iberdrola accepted the Public Service Commission terms for an acquisition of Energy East and NYSEG, it was plain as day that they were barred from requesting a rate hike for 13 months," he said. "The credit crisis has put everyone - especially ratepayers - under financial strain and now is not the time to stick New Yorkers with spiking utility bills."


Source: http://timesunion.com/AspSt...

JAN 28 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18799-nyseg-seeking-a-rate-increase-psc-must-ok-request-that-would-raise-average-month-bill-21
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