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Gianaris Calls on State Regulators to Investigate Con Ed’s Surging Bills

Con Edison workers doing line repairs (Photo: Con Edison)

Feb. 10, 2022 By Allie Griffin

State Sen. Michael Gianaris is calling on state regulators to investigate the spike in electricity bills that many Con Edison customers are now required to pay.

Gianaris penned a letter Tuesday to the New York State Public Service Commission Tuesday asking the utility regulator to probe the bill increases after his office was flooded with callers who said their January electric charges drastically increased from a month earlier.

Some Con Edison customers saw their charges triple month over month, according to Gianaris.

“These skyrocketing, unexpected costs are hurting New Yorkers’ pockets at an already difficult time. Con Edison needs to answer for this change and help make customers whole,” Gianaris said in a statement.

Con Edison — which delivers electricity to customers but doesn’t generate it — has blamed the price hikes on its electricity suppliers who set the rates. The company is required by law to provide electricity to its customers at cost and is not permitted to make a profit from it.

“[The] bills have been impacted by the cost of natural gas in the generation of electricity,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Con Edison does not generate electricity nor can we manage the financial practices of the private power generators or the suppliers of the natural gas.”

Con Edison, which operates and maintains the power grid, earns its money by charging delivery fees—not for the power supply itself. The delivery rates are regulated by the state and the company is required to notify its customers when the delivery charges change.

Con Edison customers saw their most recent bills skyrocket due to an increase in supply fees, which are determined by the companies that generate the power.

Gianaris asked the PSC to probe what caused the company’s suppliers to drastically raise their costs and why customers weren’t notified of the price hike before they were slammed with the bill.

He also asked the commission what can be done to reduce the costs for customers this billing cycle.

A spokesperson for the PSC, however, said that the commission doesn’t regulate supply prices.

The majority of New York’s electric supply is generated by natural gas — a commodity that fluctuates in price based on global supply and demand. PSC, therefore, cannot control the price.

“This winter the cost of natural gas has increased as the demand for the commodity has increased, exports have increased, and severe weather has hindered production in the Gulf area,” PSC spokesperson James Denn said.

Con Edison said it wants to generate electricity itself via renewable energy sources. It said that prices would be less likely to fluctuate.

“Con Edison is seeking the ability to generate renewable energy in New York State for our customers which would shift our dependence away from natural gas and this volatility,” the spokesperson said.

Gianaris, meanwhile, criticized Con Edison’s communication with customers and said it was all the more reason New York should replace it with a publicly owned utility.

“Con Edison’s poor explanations and concerning performance once again show the need for New Yorkers to have public power,” he said.

In the meantime, New Yorkers struggling to pay their January bills can get assistance from the state government.

The state has allocated more than $373 million in home heating aid for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the winter.

City residents can learn more about the program and apply for funds here.

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37 Comments

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Rosa

This is more of a problem for landlords and those who pay for heat. Yes electricity cost went up which typically renters pay for but you can limit usage and lower your a/c in the summer. Landlords must provide heat during October to May and the temperature in an apartment must be 68 degrees during the day and 62 at night. You can call 311 and report your homeowner or landlord if they are not providing sufficient heat.

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ABoondy

how about you politicians investigate yourselves. it was your democrat brethren that did this. i got the email from Con Ed about the increase. i replied back to them: “Con Ed really puts the Con on everyone. Great choice for a business name. how much did Con Ed bribe dishonorable gov Pataki to get utilities deregulated that has hurt residents for decades?” still waiting for their reply. i think i’ll do a screenshot and put it on their FB page just in case they forget to reply.

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Had enuff of BS

We are basically stucked with the bill despite what any politicians claims it will
for us working people. Con
Ed should change name to CON ARTIST . Totally outrageous..

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Angry with NY

Just like to know what steps is Gianaris will take with Con Ed .We the people will end up having to pay this increase . NO notice was sent to us to regarding increase .Yeah sure this is for the money to recoup for free Smart meters they installed or sub contracted to.
I refuse to pay this increase
and what will Gianaris going to do ???

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Srinivas

I like Gianaris, he has a bright future in the (Democratic) Socialist Party.
1) prohibit use of cheap gas and coal and drive everyone to use reusables
2) realize that NYC is no Miami and there isn’t that much sunlight and wind. Ignore this obsticle.
3) make everyone use electricity for heating and cooking, spiking demand further
4) upon seeing high electricity bills, get outraged and blame greedy capitalist utility companies and make them pay.
5) great success!

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What a surprise

If folks like Gianaris want to see what the root causes are of things like this, they could simply look in the mirror (as can their voters also).

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Jan

More money, same crappy service. Are their reps working from home? They sound so distracted and never have an answer. I heard a dog barking in the background when i was on the phone with one of them and someone using a hair dryer. Once while i was waiting on the phone i thought i was finally connected to someone and all i got was voicemail from other customers leaving their names and numbers! They tell you they will call you back to follow up and they never do. On one issue I had to call 3 days in a row and speak to 3 different reps until somone corrected the aea with the right dept.

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Kate

The Structural racism is overwhelming in NYC. From Taxes to property tax etc. A bunch of greedy individuals from top to bottom!

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Chaquille

I don’t understand how peoples’ bills can be so high. Do they all live in mansions? My bill only went up $25, which I’m not happy about, but it isn’t the end of the world.

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Woodside Resident

Well then since you dont seem to have issue with higher electric bill how about paying for everyone’s increase !! SHAME ON CON ED !

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Jose

People are barely getting by is this a freaking joke! How are people supposed to survive . Everything is going up so much.

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Mary

We usually pay 350$ a month, this month our Con Ed bill was 1200$. I thought it was a joke. I am never baking cookies for the holidays again.

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Juanita

I have no problem with con Edison. At all. And I have heap which takes out of the bill and my bill is usually 30 or 40. No more than 50. The last high bill I had they helped me and put on a program so I don’t have to bill 100s of dollars instead less than 50 dollars a month.

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Jess

Yep. Got my bill earlier this month and it was MORE THAN DOUBLE and nothing had changed as far as my usage. So, I called them up and after approximately an hour and a half of holding on, the rep told me very curtly, “you can look for another supplier if you want because your bill may even be higher next month and again the month after that. it is what it is.”

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ABoondy

such utter disrespect. they feel they can do what they want because they are a monopoly. we need to vote these evil democrats OUT and get utilities regulated again.

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Rafe

Also, what exactly was the point behind the so-called “smart meter” we just had installed at Con Ed’s insistence? I believe it was really to their benefit, not the customers’.
I also resented their haranguing us endlessly with the threat of fines if the meter was not installed by a certain date. By the way, the people they hire for customer service positions need to act more professional and to take an actual interest in their jobs.

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Stacy

Omg I just thought this for the last two days I thought I was tripping when I received my bill I’m like I didn’t pay this much last year and this pops up 😭 🤣We letting them do anything raise everything but our pay checks and for really no reason and During a pandemic 😯😯

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Michelle

We had our stimulus last year, now it’s the time for business to take theirs from our wallet. This is crazy! Not acceptable!

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David

These idiots are legislating you all into forced usage of electric appliances and vehicles, while simultaneously and intentionally driving up the cost of power. If you don’t think this is being done purposefully, I have a bridge to sell you. Two in fact.

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Al

problem is USA now produces so much natural gas it is a leading exporter. Why is that? Because woke liberal progressive democrats along with tree huggers don’t want any new natural gas pipelines, nor anyone burning the stuff for anything. Think BdeB and previous city council banning new natural gas connections. What US doesn’t use or want other countries are happy to have, so oil companies are exporting record amounts of LNG to satiate worldwide demand.

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ABoondy

those bans mean nothing. dumblasio’s policies mean nothing much like his tenure. the new mayor can overturn them. at some point he will have to. electric heating and cooking is insanely expensive! or better yet, he gets Convict Edison regulated again.

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There's a gas pipeline being built in a Brooklyn right now

You understand the pipeline was not blocked right? If you were more informed maybe you wouldn’t be so offended

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Ron

Mine went up 1/3 the amount. Hasn’t been this much since summer when I used an AC. In fact, it was more than two months in summer. What kind of scam they running?

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John

So this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But that’s ok. He’s trying to look good for the people of his district.
It’s decisions made by people like him to shut down indian point that caused this. That was the cheapest power supplier, when this was brought to their attention the concern was “we need to shut down nuclear power” so that was the trade off. Now we suffer. Politicians can continue to play dumb and act like the decisions they make don’t have a real impact on people. If you’re ever curious about the cost of power go to https://www.nyiso.com/ n you can read more about it.

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Anon

You mean to tell me shutting down the power plant that supplied 25% of New York City’s electrical supply and replacing it with good intentions and wishful thinking has real consequences? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

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