ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Gas and Electric along with New York State Electric & Gas, have filed a new rate case with the New York Public Service Commission.
Under this new plan, RG&E electric rates would go up 16% and gas would rise just under 11% over the next three years. The AVANGRID companies had originally requested a 22% increase.
Proposed rate increase per year
AVANGRID estimated cost for customers
The utility said in a statement that the proposed settlement was agreed to, at least in part, by eight groups representing consumers, environmental, and industry interests, along with representatives from the NYS DPS.
“While this is a rate increase, it is a very thoughtful, mindful process to try to balance what is the cost impact for our customers, as well as what are the needs of our customers and the needs of the grid in order for us to safely continue to operate and serve our customers,” said Patricia Nilsen, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E during a conference call on Wednesday.
Nilsen mentions the “state’s expensive energy goals for clean energy to be delivered in NYS” as one reason for the rate increase.
Nilsen also points out that outages due to infrastructure affected 600,000 customers in 2022 alone. Infrastructure investments to improve reliability and reduce outages, along with advancements to their grid, are also noted as reasons for the bill impacts.
The 34 million dollar grid automation will allow remote intervention for outages and interruptions and will work towards implementing NYS clean energy goals.
Their plan also includes the accelerated placement of 45,000 poles, tree timing on a regular cycle, and investments in tree wire for resiliency against inclement weather.
Nilsen explains more about bill impacts, and how they are striving to help customers through the transition:
“As I mentioned… the bill impacts. They are approximately $10 per month per customer. But we are increasing our customer assistance recognizing that there will be customer groups that ANY bill impact is significant. So we have a 30% increase in our low-income programs as part of this proposal. It amounts to $27 million of assistance at NYSEG and $23 million at RG&E for bill assistance programs for both fixed and low-income customers. And part of this will also be looking at the expansion of protection for customers during extreme temperature periods. And as a 30-year veteran of the company, I can tell you extreme temperatures have changed over the decades,” she said.
This is not a completed deal yet, as there is a process they have to go through. The Public Service Commission will have to hold hearings on this- likely- late this year.
The PSC weighed in with a statement on Wednesday:
“Several parties in the NYSEG/RG&E rate case submitted a proposed settlement agreement that dramatically reduces the utilities’ original rate request. The just-filed proposed agreement will now be subject to public review and comment before the PSC makes its final decision sometime later this year. There will be opportunities for parties to issue statements in support or opposition of the proposed settlement. An evidentiary hearing is set for July 17. Public comments are accepted up to a final Commission decision.
There was no update on the PSC investigation into RG&E.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 8 and RochesterFirst.com for the latest.