Over 50 Residents Attend "People's Hearing" Against Con Edison Rate Hikes Hosted by AM Mamdani

Astoria, NY On Monday evening, over 50 residents and elected officials attended a “People’s Hearing” hosted by Assembly Member Zohran K. Mamdani (AD-36), member of the NYS Assembly Energy Committee, for community members to give their public comment in the ongoing Con Edison rate case. 37 public comments were given during the meeting, calling on Governor Hochul and the PSC to deny ConEdison a rate increase - bringing the total number of comments collected by Mamdani’s office to over 500.

This event came as temperatures cool and New Yorkers experience increasing supply-side energy costs, while ConEdison has proposed to increase the average household’s utility bill by nearly $60 / month in order to increase their return on equity to 10%, and to spend tens of millions on fossil fuel infrastructure, including $70.4 million to extend the life of the Astoria Liquified Natural Gas (“LNG”) Plant, and $47.9 million for the Queens Transmission Pipeline expansion – far more than what is needed to ensure safe operations.

NYS Legislators Assembly Members Jessica González-Rojas (AD-34), Emily Gallagher (AD-50), Marcela Mitaynes (AD-51) and Catalina Cruz (AD-39), City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán (D-22 Queens), and Assembly Members-Elect Alex Bores (AD-73) and Steven Raga (AD-30) gave public comments during the meeting, alongside community members.

“Twenty-five percent of all constituent cases we have opened in our office are in relation to ConEd. It has to do with tenants who cannot afford their bill, homeowners who do not know how they will meet next month’s bill, and small business, who don’t know how they can pay all of these charges, primarily ConEd, in order to continue to be the lifeblood of our neighborhood,”said Assembly Member Mamdani. “Energy is a public good and deserves to be run in a public manner. Right now, what we have is a private monopoly. We are going to ensure there will be pushback at every juncture to ConEd’s attempts to extract more profit from ordinary New Yorkers.”

“Utility debt has ballooned across the state during the pandemic and will only get worse with the high bills customers are facing this winter,” Councilmember Cabán said. “For the last decade, state regulators have failed to do their job to protect us from high bills, and have allowed utilities to make huge profits extending the life of the gas system. Investing our money in a fossil fuel facility until 2028 is climate denialism and continues the legacy of climate racism.” 

Astoria resident Azzeddine Sarii spoke about already high ConEdison rates, and about the impact of the poor air quality near the ConEdison fossil fuel-powered plant in Astoria that has impacted his health. “We live a couple of blocks from the plant, and we feel it in the air and in our bones. It is very difficult for me to breathe, and it has become very serious.” he said. “So, we are here today to have our voice hard, with our community members, and to appeal to the Governor and the people in charge, the policymakers, to do something to stop Con Edison from this unjust behavior.”

Photos available here - credit: Kara McCurdy

Video available here - credit: Mia Fermindoza


What: A People’s Hearing in the Con Edison Rate Case
When: Monday, November 21, 7:00 PM

Variety Boys & Girls Club, 21-12 30th Rd, Astoria, NY