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Photo: Max Parrott/QNS
An Astoria resident testifies against Con Edison's proposed 2020 rate hike at a hearing in July.

The campaign to replace Con Edison with a public power utility has grown since Democratic Socialists of America and Councilman Costa Constantinides held a hearing in July about resisting the power provider’s rate hikes.

Since then, Con Edison enacted rate hikes that will continue over the next three years, and the coalition has gathered community and legislative support. 

As a follow-up to that hearing, which was held in the immediate wake of the summer’s extensive blackouts, the DSA Ecosocialist Working Group will hold its third citywide public power town hall of the year from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 5 at HANAC George Douris Tower, located at 2740 Hoyt Ave. S in Astoria.

The group will be joined by a host of electeds, including State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, and Constantinides, as well as groups like New York Communities for Change, Food and Water Watch, Hearts Across Queens, Queens Independent United Progressives, Sunrise NYC.

The coalition recently supported three pieces of legislation in the state legislature that would essentially enact public power. They would expand the New York Power Authority, require all state-owned and municipal properties to use renewable energy and create a downstate Power Authority to take over Con Ed, Central Hudson Gas and Electric, and National Grid Gas service across New York City and several other surrounding counties.

“This is the first time that there’s a real alternative on the table,” said Charlie Heller, a spokesperson for the DSA. “The thing we want people to take away is that this is about people who live in Queens. This is an opportunity to share your frustration with Con Ed, and learn how you can do something about it.”

In addition to updating the public about the group’s campaign, the town hall will solicit testimony from Queens residents about their experiences with power service.

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