Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced an agreement with Con Edison that will freeze electric delivery rates for two years, and gas and steam distribution rates for three years starting tomorrow. Most commercial and industrial customer classes will see a rate decrease, he said.
Consolidated Edison has to spend $1 billion to strengthen the energy grid’s resiliency and speed up the transition to a cleaner, more distributed energy system, according to the governor, who called on the state Public Service Commission last October to reject the utility’s proposed rate hike. The proposal, which has been signed by the majority of parties, has to be approved by the commission, which is anticipated at its Feb. 20, 2014 session.
Con Ed requested approval in January 2013 to increase electric delivery rates by 8 percent, gas rates by 2.5 percent and steam delivery rates by 2.3 percent for one year, beginning January 2014, among other things.
“This is a clear victory for consumers and businesses, particularly those who suffered through power outages from Superstorm Sandy last year,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve stable power rates and a reliable electric system that is clean and fortified to withstand and respond to the impacts of future extreme weather. With this groundbreaking settlement, we have achieved both of these critical elements for ratepayers in New York City and Westchester County.”
The settlement also requires Con Ed to expand its low-income electric and gas programs and boost investment in oil-t0-gas conversions, which will reduce polluting air emissions. The utility will strengthen performance measure targets for customer service and expand its capability to reconnect most customers the same day they are eligible for service reconnection.
In addition to the state Department of Public Service and Con Edison, others that signed the agreement are New York City, the New York Power Authority, the state Department of Consumer Protection, Consumer Power Advocates, New York Energy Consumers Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, Columbia Center for Climate Change Law, PACE Climate Center, NRG Energy Inc. and US Power Generating Company. The proposal will be issued to the Public Service Commission for public comment and will be the subject of an evidentiary hearing, followed by the expected vote Feb. 20.