Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D/I – Utica/Rome) is urging constituents to share their thoughts and comments on National Grid’s proposed increases on its electric and gas delivery rates with the New York State Public Service Commission during its series of virtual public statement hearings to be held September 30th to October 7th, 2020.

“To propose an increase in rates during a pandemic is unacceptable and just plain wrong,” Buttenschon stated. “During a time when communities are asked to come together and support one another, it’s unbelievable that the one company our residents rely on for heat and electricity – now more than ever – is being anything but community-minded. Residential energy costs are already among the highest in the nation in New York State. With families spending more time at home, their electric and gas bills were already headed in an upward direction – it is unconscionable that National Grid would think this was the right time to increase rates on top of that. Our area cannot afford any additional setbacks, and I urge everyone who can to provide their comments during the public statement hearings to ensure our voices are heard.”

In July 2020, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation d/b/a National Grid requested that the New York State Public Service Commission approve a proposed increase to its electric and gas rates. This proposal is seeking to increase its annual electric delivery revenues by approximately $100.4 million (a 4.9 percent increase in base delivery revenues or a 3.2 percent increase in total revenues), and its natural gas delivery revenues by approximately $41.8 million (a 9.8 percent increase in base delivery revenues or a 5.2 percent increase in total revenues).

National Grid states that its rate filings include proposals to: maintain affordability and mitigate customer bill impacts during the pandemic; modernize its electric and gas infrastructure; progress towards the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act; promote energy efficiency and improve customer experience, and preserve National Grid’s credit quality and provide it the opportunity to earn a reasonable rate of return. The actual bill impacts of these proposed changes on any particular customer class will vary based upon revenue allocation and rate design.

Under New York State law, the Public Service Commission must consider a utility’s proposal and may adopt, reject, or modify it. The New York State Public Service Commission’s virtual public hearings will be held on Wednesday, September 30; Thursday, October 1; Tuesday, October 6; and Wednesday, October 7, 2020, before Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) James A. Costello and Ashley Moreno.

Buttenschon is urging the Public Service Commission to reject National Grid’s increased request. She is also calling upon area constituents to attend these public hearings and voice their concerns on the inappropriate timing and nature of this proposal.

“Public comments will be considered by the Commission in deciding this case,” Buttenschon said. “This is our chance to speak up and let the Public Service Commission hear directly from all of us that an increase at this time is inappropriate and will be debilitating to some families.”

Participants who would like to provide a statement and will need to register in advance at web.ex.com Access codes can be found on the DPS website (dps.ny.gov), under Scheduled hearings. National Grid’s rate filings, including its pre-filed testimony and exhibits in these proceedings, may be reviewed online at the Department of Public Service web page, www.dps.ny.gov, by searching under Case 20-E-0380 (electric) or 20-G-0381 (gas).

Currently, National Grid provides service to customers in 37 counties, including Herkimer and Oneida, in Upstate, Central, and Western New York State.