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Con Ed gas rates to increase 10 percent

The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved a plan that will increase Con Edison’s gas rates by about 10 percent in each of the next three years, beginning on October 1.
PSC Chairperson Patricia Acampora said the commission tried to find a balance in developing a rate that strikes a balance between customers and investors as well as the long-term growth of the investor.
PSC officials said that the new plan, which will generate $67.5 million in each of the next three years for a total of $202.5 million, compared to the $196.7 million increase the utility company requested in for the period ending September 30, 2008 and totaled roughly $285 million.
“The Commission opted to levelize or smooth out the bill impacts for customers by adjusting the timing and amount of the rate increases,” Acampora said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Queens Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, who has been an outspoken critic of Con Ed after the 10-day blackout crippled western Queens residents last summer, said that no rate hikes should be approved because of the company’s poor service record.
“We are dealing with a monopoly that has proven over and over that it is incapable of spending its money wisely,” Gianaris said. “Executives are more concerned about passing our money onto the shareholders instead of using it for maintenance and improvements.”
Gianaris is currently contesting Con Ed’s request for what he termed massive rate hikes for electricity and said that the gas rate increases are no different.
“Executives are more concerned about passing our money onto the shareholders instead of using it for maintenance and improvements,” he said.
Under the approved plan, gas rates will increase 10.2 percent over the next three years, however during the first year the cost will be scattered over different areas. Increases are comprised of a $36.3 million (6 percent) increase in base rates, a $14 million (2.3 percent) surcharge for Con Edison’s energy efficiency program and a $17 million (2.9 percent) increase in commodity costs.
The $67.5 million rate increases for the second and third years of the rate plan are entirely for delivery costs.

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