ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Metro Justice announced it will be holding a town hall on Wednesday to discuss a study of turning RG&E into a public utility.
Metro Justice will be joined by county legislators including Legislature candidate Lystra McCoy and Mercedes Vazquez Simmons to discuss proceeding with the study.
This past June, the City Council approved $500,000 for the study. Now, members of Metro Justice want the Monroe County Legislature to provide up to $1 million to conduct the study, which they say is the last step to start the study.
If all goes according to their plan, Metro Justice will then move on to creating a referendum.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello recently came out against the idea of the study, saying that $1 million in taxpayer money is not worth it for a public study unless it was warranted.
When the first calls were made to turn RG&E into a public utility, the CEO of the utility Trish Neilsen called the move a “political agenda” and highlighted the company’s contribution to local causes.
However, RG&E is also under investigation by the Public Service Commission over complaints of the utility’s billing practices and customer service issues. RG&E ended up getting hit with negative adjustments of $5.9 million.
The town hall is scheduled from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Federation of Social Workers Union Hall, 740 Driving Park Ave, Suite A in Rochester.
RG&E released a statement Wednesday evening, saying:
Our position is, and has always been, that a government-controlled utility is not the answer for Rochester. Service and reliability will be compromised, while putting taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars by significantly raising rates, jeopardizing needed grid improvements, and halting any transition to clean energy. RG&E has made significant improvements to customer service, drastically lessening customer wait times, improving the accuracy of billing and hiring hundreds of new staff.
We will continue our forward-looking plan to address any additional customer needs, that includes offering more assistance for low-income customers, while investing in upgrades to our aging infrastructure, with new technology to increase reliability and supporting business and community development throughout our region. We stand ready to have conversations on our forward moving progress as opposed to politics.