You are reading

Gianaris Calls on State Regulators to Investigate Con Ed’s Surging Bills

Con Edison workers doing line repairs (Photo: Con Edison)

Feb. 10, 2022 By Allie Griffin

State Sen. Michael Gianaris is calling on state regulators to investigate the spike in electricity bills that many Con Edison customers are now required to pay.

Gianaris penned a letter Tuesday to the New York State Public Service Commission Tuesday asking the utility regulator to probe the bill increases after his office was flooded with callers who said their January electric charges drastically increased from a month earlier.

Some Con Edison customers saw their charges triple month over month, according to Gianaris.

“These skyrocketing, unexpected costs are hurting New Yorkers’ pockets at an already difficult time. Con Edison needs to answer for this change and help make customers whole,” Gianaris said in a statement.

Con Edison — which delivers electricity to customers but doesn’t generate it — has blamed the price hikes on its electricity suppliers who set the rates. The company is required by law to provide electricity to its customers at cost and is not permitted to make a profit from it.

“[The] bills have been impacted by the cost of natural gas in the generation of electricity,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Con Edison does not generate electricity nor can we manage the financial practices of the private power generators or the suppliers of the natural gas.”

Con Edison, which operates and maintains the power grid, earns its money by charging delivery fees—not for the power supply itself. The delivery rates are regulated by the state and the company is required to notify its customers when the delivery charges change.

Con Edison customers saw their most recent bills skyrocket due to an increase in supply fees, which are determined by the companies that generate the power.

Gianaris asked the PSC to probe what caused the company’s suppliers to drastically raise their costs and why customers weren’t notified of the price hike before they were slammed with the bill.

He also asked the commission what can be done to reduce the costs for customers this billing cycle.

A spokesperson for the PSC, however, said that the commission doesn’t regulate supply prices.

The majority of New York’s electric supply is generated by natural gas — a commodity that fluctuates in price based on global supply and demand. PSC, therefore, cannot control the price.

“This winter the cost of natural gas has increased as the demand for the commodity has increased, exports have increased, and severe weather has hindered production in the Gulf area,” PSC spokesperson James Denn said.

Con Edison said it wants to generate electricity itself via renewable energy sources. It said that prices would be less likely to fluctuate.

“Con Edison is seeking the ability to generate renewable energy in New York State for our customers which would shift our dependence away from natural gas and this volatility,” the spokesperson said.

Gianaris, meanwhile, criticized Con Edison’s communication with customers and said it was all the more reason New York should replace it with a publicly owned utility.

“Con Edison’s poor explanations and concerning performance once again show the need for New Yorkers to have public power,” he said.

In the meantime, New Yorkers struggling to pay their January bills can get assistance from the state government.

The state has allocated more than $373 million in home heating aid for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the winter.

City residents can learn more about the program and apply for funds here.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946 to 1950 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.

Man dies in East Elmhurst house fire that left 10 others injured: FDNY

A man was killed in a fire that broke out inside an East Elmhurst home that also left 10 others injured late Friday night, according to the FDNY.

The FDNY received a call regarding the two-alarm fire that broke out just after 11 p.m. in a three-story residential home at 24-37 89th St. on Friday, Jan. 20. FDNY sent 25 units consisting of 106 firefighters and EMS workers to the scene. Additionally, officers from the 115th Precinct responded to the scene.