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Electric bills will increase more than 4% this year following Con Ed rate hike approval

By: Ryan Deffenbaugh |

New Yorkers will soon be paying more for their electric and gas bills.

A plan from Consolidated Edison to raise rates on electric and gas over the next years was approved Thursday by the state Public Service Commission, despite the protests of environmental and consumer groups.

Monthly bills for a typical residential customers will climb 4.2% this year for electricity and 7.5% for gas. In 2021, the average electricity bill will rise an additional 4.7% and gas rates 8.8%. In the third year of the plan, typical bills for electricity will rise 4%, while gas costs go up 7.2%.

The increases will apply to Con Edison’s electric and gas territories in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester.

A press release from the state’s Department of Public Services noted that the regulators cut the rate increase from Con Ed’s initial proposal by 75%. Con Ed reached an agreement for the increases with state regulators and environmental groups in October.

The increases will net Con Ed about $1.2 billion in extra revenue from its gas and electric business over the next three years.

The company says the plan will allow it to invest $3 billion yearly to improve reliability and invest in clean energy, including $700 million for energy efficiency programs.

“The three-year investment plan approved today is essential to helping New York State achieve its clean energy goals, as well as to continue providing safe and reliable service to our customers,” a Con Ed spokesman said in a statement.

The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change and the Natural Resources Defense Council all signed off on the plan. The NRDC, however, provided its approval only the electric increases and spending, not the natural gas proposal.

But the plan drew protests from environmental groups for its plan to send investment to natural gas infrastructure. Opponents included city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who said the plan will “funnel more cash into fossil-fuel infrastructure that will dig us deeper into the climate crisis.”

The meeting in Albany Thursday became contentious enough that a group of climate protestors were escorted out by state troopers, according to the Albany Times Union.

The AARP also led a charge to have the plan voted down. After the vote Thursday, the group criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for staying on the sidelines as the regulatory panel—whose members he appoints—voted in favor of the hike.

“AARP was hoping Governor Cuomo would weigh in as he has in the past when Con Ed ratepayers and other New Yorkers have faced a massive hit like this to their wallets, but he said nothing—very disappointing,” the group said in a statement.