ALBANY – State Senator Jen Metzger (D, Rosendale) has criticized the proposed NYSEG joint rate case as “outrageous” that the parties involved have agreed to impose a nearly 25 percent increase in electric rates over a three-year period. She said that was in “total disregard for the pandemic and the economic toll it has taken on residents and small businesses” in the region.
With unemployment in the area between 10 percent and 12 percent, the senator said, “such an exorbitant increase is inexcusable.” She also said the agreement gives the utility shareholders “a higher guaranteed rate of profit than necessary or warranted during this pandemic.”
Metzger said she also remains concerned about continued problems with service reliability in portions of her district. “NYSEG has consistently under-invested in preventative maintenance for reliability which worsened the severity of impacts of the March 2018 winter storms and has also contributed to a high frequency of power outages in my district more generally.”
She said the increase in funding for vegetation management in the proposal is “a welcome start, but additional investment is likely needed given the catch-up necessary because of years of neglect.”
The senator said the proposal would have NYSEG spent nearly $490 million on advanced metering infrastructure when many customers in her district still lack broadband access to realize the benefits. “Funding would be better spent on additional investment in preventative maintenance and on replacing antiquated circuits to improve power quality and better support renewable energy on the distribution system.”
NYSEG serves most of Sullivan County, the towns of Delhi, Walton and Colchester in Delaware County, and the Town of Shawangunk in Ulster County, all within Metzger’s district.