New Yorks Ratepayers
Real Energy Relief Now
New York State has an energy crisis on its hands. We may not
have rolling blackouts and near-bankrupt utilities like in California,
but the dramatic energy price increases of recent months is
a real emergency for our businesses and families living on tight
budgets. Whats more alarming is the fact that our Governor
has refused to admit his energy policies are a failure. Just
as his policies have not addressed the economic plight of Upstate
New York, the Governor has not addressed the states energy
For years, New York businesses
have been paying some of the highest
energy bills in the nation.
According to recent estimates, New Yorks electric bills
have soared to 67 percent higher than the national
average since the Governors much- touted deregulation
plan went into place. And all indications are that energy prices
are only going to climb higher.
Utility customers in New York City struggled with severe electricity
price spikes last summer, and now Niagara Mohawk is predicting
an electricity rate increase of 12 percent beginning this fall.
Utilities throughout the state have warned customers to expect
double-digit increases in natural gas prices this winter
up to 70 percent in some places.
While the Governors Public Service Commission allows
the increases to go unchecked, these costs are eating up family
budgets, hurting small businesses and standing in the way of
the economic revitalization Upstate New York desperately needs.
At a time when companies are furloughing workers and shutting
down operations because of high energy prices, the Governors
Public Service Commission has acted to increase electricity
costs $750 million over the next five years.
The Governors response
energy crisis has been astounding.
First, the Governor and his allies in the State Senate rejected
the Assemblys offer to hold an energy summit last fall
to try to find constructive ways to head off a crisis before
the cold winter heating season arrived. When those bills did
come, the Senate scrambled together a last minute energy
plan that consisted largely of tax credits that require
homeowners to spend a lot just to save a little.
The Assembly has a well-rounded
will provide immediate ratepayer relief.
For five years, the Assembly has passed a far-reaching plan
to provide real energy reform for working families and businesses.
The Assemblys Competition Plus initiative will promote
competition within the utility industry, lower energy costs
and protect consumers from unfair rate hikes and price gouging.
A key component of Competition Plus is the Universal Service
Rate, which would give all customers a discount on the essential
block of electricity they need to run their appliances and turn
on their lights. It provides the security working families and
seniors on fixed incomes need to deal with the turbulent energy
The Assembly calls upon the
Senate to come to the table and negotiate real
solutions to the energy crisis that put
New York consumers first.
Competitive energy prices are essential to revitalizing New
Yorks economy, and giving real relief to working families
and senior citizens. The Assembly Majority is ready and willing
to work with the Governor and State Senate to forge an energy
policy that protects family budgets and promotes economic growth.