Assemblymembers Michael Reilly (R-South Shore), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore), and Senators Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) wrote today to Chairman John Rhodes of the New York State Public Service Commission to express their displeasure with the commission's poor scheduling of a Staten Island public hearing on a proposal from National Grid to raise their gas delivery rate in 2020.
The Public Service Commission -- also referred to as the Department of Public Service and responsible for regulating energy, water, and telecommunications services throughout the state -- will be voting on a proposal from National Grid later this year to raise their gas delivery rate for consumers beginning March of next year. By law the commission is required to receive public comment before making a decision, and has announced they'll be having three hearings in the affected markets of Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. Their Staten Island hearing will be held at the St. George Library and is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, beginning at 2:00pm.
The representatives state that the time and location are not convenient for their constituents, and request that the Public Service Commission reschedule the hearing for a time and at a location that is more practical.
"Many of our constituents are blue- and white-collar workers who do not return home until after 5:00pm. It is unfair to hold a hearing in the middle of the afternoon when most of our constituents are either still at work or home caring for the child of a relative who is at work. A more practical time would be after 6:00pm, preferably 7:00pm, as to ensure our constituents have an adequate amount of time to return home and travel to the location of the hearing," wrote the representatives.
They continued, "[...] we also believe the location selected by the Public Service Commission to hold this hearing is not equally accessible to all of our constituents. The St. George Library is not only lacks the adequate amount of space necessary to hold this hearing, but it is also not easily reachable for our constituents via public transit, specifically those coming from the South Shore of Staten Island. Of course they can drive their personal vehicle, but this location offers very limited parking."
The representatives then suggested that the Public Service Commission consider using the College of Staten Island or the Michael J. Petrides School to hold the hearing, since both are centrally located on the Island and can hold large audiences. They also acknowledged that this will be the third public hearing Staten Island residents have had to attend this year to protest a proposed rate increase for services.
"While our constituents may not agree with the rate increases, we apprciate the fact that the Port Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority at least had the decency to hold their hearings at a time and location convenient for our constituents, and we hope that the Public Service Commission will do the same," they wrote.
A copy of their letter to Chairman John Rhodes can be found here: www.bit.ly/32UL7Vq