The first in a series of public hearings was held in Riverhead Monday evening on PSEG Long Island’s proposed rate hike.
The utility has announced a proposal to raise its delivery charge for customers by about 3.8 or 3.9 percent a year over the next three years.
A Newsday review of the proposal found that the plan would also allow the utility to increase rates beyond that to pay for certain debt, power and storm costs.
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Customers who spoke with News 12 Long Island weren’t happy to hear about the potential hike.
AARP Long Island came out in full force to the state Department of Public Service hearing and called for an independent consumer advocate to come to the table and represent the consumers in this process. They say too many seniors and people of all ages are struggling to pay their electric bills.
“Social Security doesn’t cut it anymore,” said Joan McCarthy of AARP Long Island. “There are really tough choices that need to be made and this shouldn’t be one of them.”
PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir says the proposed changes do not mean that costs will always have to go up for customers. He says they may go down or stay level, and says it is really just a cost tracker.
“Costs can be moderated for customers so that in the event of a significant storm or the lack of a significant storm they’re not having to pay for it until that storm actually hits,” Weir said.
But Riverhead resident Joseph Edler was skeptical. “Once they get it, they’re not going to give it back,” he said.
The LIPA board still must approve the plan. Tonight’s meeting at the Riverhead Library marks the first public hearing on the issue. Another will be held Tuesday in Smithtown, and a third will be held Wednesday in Mineola.
The Silver Linning here is that if you own a solar system the higher PSEG raises their rates the more money they are mandated to buy the energy generated from your solar panels for. This means bigger gains for the investors that went solar.