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Rep. Tom Suozzi blasts ‘unreasonable’ Con Ed rate hikes of up to 19%

Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi is blasting Con Edison for its “unreasonable” plans to hike utility bills for its 3.5 million customers in the New York metropolitan area by as much as 19% next year. “New Yorkers already have some of the most expensive electric and gas bills in the nation,” Suozzi, the Democrat who is launching a long-shot bid for the party nomination for governor this year, wrote in a letter to Con Ed obtained by The Post. “Asking my constituents to swallow a dramatic, single year increase to their electric and gas bill is unreasonable when they already pay nearly 50% more than the average U.S. household.” Last week, Con Ed said that it would submit its investment plan for 2023 to the New York State Public Service Commission. The utility is asking state regulators for permission to hike residents’ electric bills by 11.2%, while gas would cost a whopping 18.2% more starting next year. The company says that the hikes are necessary in order to fund “investments in clean energy, as well as infrastructure upgrades that will help keep customers in service during severe weather.” Suozzi told the Post that he supports transitioning to green energy, but local utilities shouldn’t be able to pass on the cost to consumers without the federal government stepping in and helping ease the financial burden. “I’m a big environmentalist,” the former Nassau County executive told The Post. “But if New York continues to go on its own without the help of federal policy, we’re going to see increasing rates like this and that’s going to chase people out of the state and they’re going to pollute somewhere else.” He said there needed to be a “balance” between addressing environmental issues in a way that wouldn’t “crush” rate-payers. Suozzi, a centrist Democrat who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, told Con Ed that the company’s proposed rate hikes are “difficult to justify” given that “the company reports annual profits of $1 billion plus following previous rate increases.” The lawmaker said that New York City’s “lagging economic recovery from the pandemic will continue to have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable and those with the least ability to swallow increasing costs for electricity and gas.” The Post has sought comment from Con Ed in response to Suozzi’s letter. ConEd, which supplies electricity, natural gas, and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, will ask customers to pay more so that it could use an additional $1.2 billion in revenue to upgrade its electric delivery system and $500 million more to improve its gas distribution. ConEd says it plans to invest in renewable energy, including electric vehicles and clean heat that will reduce its carbon footprint by 2.4 million metric tons over the next three years.

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