Electric and gas rate hike hearings scheduled for Tuesday

Electric and gas rate hike hearings scheduled for Tuesday

Hearings will be held Tuesday in downtown Rochester on rate increases being proposed by Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

The hearings are scheduled for 1:30 and 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Rochester’s City Hall, 30 Church Street. At each hearing – as well as others scheduled for other parts of the state – an administrative law judge will preside and the utility companies will offer an explanation for the increase request. Periods for public comment will begin at 2:30 p.m. for the afternoon session, and 7 p.m. for the evening hearing.

According to a posting from the New York State Public Service Commission, which oversees state utilities, estimated increases in average residential bills would be:

  • $2.86 a month for RG&E electric customers
  • $1.56 a month for RG&E gas customers
  • $10.17 a month for NYSEG electric customers
  • $1.05 a month in for NYSEG gas customers.

PSC said the utilities, which are both subsidiaries of international conglomerate Avangrid, are asking for increases based predominantly on the need to manage vegetation, but they also listed increased operating expenses, depreciation and infrastructure investments among their reasons.

A local environmental group, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition has launched a campaign to urge fellow rate payers to use their testimony to push the utility company toward greener forms of energy production.

“RG&E/NYSEG continue to expand gas infrastructure and incentivize fossil fuel-based technologies, moving us away, not toward, meeting NY State’s newest goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Green energy and clean technologies are available, effective, and necessary to protect our climate,” read a statement the group had prepared on the hearings.

Efforts to reach an Avangrid spokesperson for comment were unsuccessful.

People who wish to speak at the hearings don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time. They are limited to three minutes and may also provide a written copy of their comments if they wish. Others who cannot attend the scheduled hearings may provide testimony online, by phone or in writing by Aug. 26. Information on how to do that is available at the PSC’s website.

Additional hearings will be held in Keene Valley, Essex County, and Ithaca Aug. 14, and in Binghamton Aug. 15

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275