New York State May Raise Utility Rates Again To Pay For Bailout
As utility prices soar across the state, New Yorkers’ rates may be going up again. This time it’s not the utility companies making the decision, but New York government. A historic bailout may place a $672 million debt on all state ratepayers. This is on top of financial strain caused by a brutally cold December for most of the state.
This winter already brought a 40% surge in heating costs for National Grid customers in Upstate. This followed a 30% increase the year before. The average bill increase in the last year alone is around $50 per month. With plenty of winter left to go, there are still plenty of high New York heating bills to pay.
This bailout would focus on the hundreds of thousands of households and small businesses that owe back utility bills from the pandemic. National Grid says 70,000 Upstate customers owe $2,300 on average dating back to before May 2022.
While New Yorkers that owe are in danger of utility shutoffs during a dangerous time of year to not have heat, the $672 million owed would be spread across all ratepayers. This would seemingly include the ratepayers that owe the money in the first place.
With prices out of control, a decision to put a $672 million burden on all customers is a baffling one. If utility rates keep going up, its hard to imagine that those already behind on their payments will be able to magically start keeping up. It’s equally hard to imagine that New York’s utility companies would struggle with this loss.
New York State’s Public Service Commission will get the final say on the matter. The PSC’s seven members could vote in favor of relieving more than 50,000 businesses and 470,000 homeowners of partial or all debt as soon as January 19th. We won’t be told the plan’s full details until the PSC passes it.