ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Public Service Commission unanimously voted ‘yes’ on a proposed rate hike from RG&E and NYSEG.
In June 2023, RG&E and NYSEG submitted a revised rate case with PSC. Under the new plan, RG&E’s electric rates would go up 16% and gas rates would rise just below 11% over the next three years. RG&E estimates that impact bills by about $10 per customer per month.
According to Governor Hochul, RG&E’s original plan was to raise electric rates by 31% and gas rates by 20.9%, which sparked a backlash from community leaders, county and city officials, and advocacy organizations.
The plans also came after PSC expanded its investigation into both RG&E and NYSEG due to a surge in billing complaints and issues with the two utilities’ customer service.
In a statement, NYSEG and RG&E President and CEO Trish Nilsen says their mission is to serve their customers safely and reliably.
“The Reliable Energy New York plan will allow us to make critical investments in our gas and electric infrastructure to improve reliability, expand our energy efficiency offerings, execute on important pilots to test new technologies to support our green energy future, and provide additional assistance to those who need it,” Nilsen said.
RG&E also said the approved plan includes “more than $1 billion of investments to focus on serving our customers, with increased bill assistance and expanded protections during extreme temperature events.”
PSC statement on customer service issues
Considering the companies’ recent customer service metrics and the ongoing investigation into billing and complaint issues at the two utilities, the joint proposal includes negative rate adjustments totaling $18.5 million to be applied for ratepayer benefit and used to lower rates going forward. The negative rate adjustments are company financial enforcement payments for missing specified billing and customer service metrics. The $18.5 million negative rate adjustment represents a significant financial consequence for missing the consumer service metrics. Meanwhile, the Department and the Commission continue to investigate potential aspects related to billing complaint increases at the companies. Moreover, going forward, If the companies miss any future individual consumer service metrics for two years consecutively, the negative rate adjustment penalty would double to $37 million.
The commission voted Thursday afternoon. The meeting can be found on the Department of Public Service’s website.