Public Service Commission encourages public statements as it weighs decision

The New York Department of Public Service is accepting public comment on a New York State Electric and Gas request for a 20.4 percent increase on their delivery rate.

If approved by the Public Service Commission, the rate hike would take effect in April 2020.

Under NYSEG's proposal that was filed in May, annual electric delivery rates would increase by $156.7 million (20.4% on base delivery revenues and 10.4% in total revenues) and annual gas delivery rates would increase by $6.3 million (3% in gas delivery revenues and 1.4% in total revenues). NYSEG projects that the average residential monthly electric bill will increase by $10.20 (or 13.5% on the total bill). The average monthly residential gas bill will increase by $1.03 (or 0.9% on the total bill).

New York State Department of Public Service staff is in the process of evaluating whether — or to what extent — a rate increase is justified.

“DPS staff represents the public interest in these proceedings and evaluates such requests with the goal of ensuring safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates,” the commission said.

The Public Service Commission has held “public statement” hearings this month on NYSEG’s request. Hearing locations included Rochester, Ithaca and Binghamton, but none in the Hornell area. The Public Service Commission is highlighting the public’s opportunity to comment on the rate hike proposal.

Hornell Mayor John Buckley said the commission reached out to his office to encourage customers impacted by the issue to share their views.

“The NYS Department of Public Service Commission has asked my office to help alert residents regarding a proposed 20.4 percent delivery rate increase from NYSEG,” Buckley said. “If approved, this increase would be imposed on NYSEG customers starting April of 2020. According to figures provided by the Commission, this equates to a $156.7 million increase. The Public Service Commission decides if a delivery rate increase is warranted and to what extent. I urge residents to contact the Commission and let them know how you feel.”

Comments can be made best by doing one of the following.

Via Mail/E-Mail: Submit comments electronically to Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at secretary@dps.ny.gov or by mail or delivery to Secretary Burgess at the Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. Comments delivered in these manners should reference "NYSEG and RG&E Rate Cases (19-E 0378/19-G-0379 and 19-E-0380/19-G-0381)".

Via Toll-Free Opinion Line: Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission's toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in state calls 24-hours a day. Comments received via the Opinion Line are not transcribed, but a summary is provided to the Commission for their consideration.

Comments may also be entered directly into the case by locating the case via the home page of the Commission's website, www.dps.ny.gov, by clicking on "Search," and entering the associated case number (19-E-0378, 19-G-0379, 19-E-0380 or 19-G-0381) in the "Search by Case Number" field. After clicking to open the case, enter comments in the "Post Comments" section located at the top of the page.

According to the filings, NYSEG's proposal is driven by increased costs associated with expanded vegetation management. The gas delivery rate increase is primarily associated with infrastructure investments and increases to operation and maintenance expenses, officials summarized.

In addition to NYSEG, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) has also filed a rate hike request with the Department of Public Service. Collectively, NYSEG and RG&E serve approximately 1,786,000 customers in 46 counties in upstate and western New York.