Greenpointers has received several tips from concerned readers regarding what they say is a drastic increase in their monthly Con Edison electricity bill.
In some cases, people say their bills doubled or even tripled the average amount they usually pay.
Below are screenshots taken from the Greenpointers Instagram account, with identifying information redacted to maintain privacy.
North Brooklyn elected officials expressed their concerns about the price increases. State Senator Julia Salazar addressed the situation on Twitter and renewed calls to push for publicly-owned power.
Assemblymember Emily Gallagher also highlighted her support for the Build Public Renewables Act, writing in an emailed statement to Greenpointers:
”Con Edison will blame this outrageous surge in electricity bills on the cost of natural gas, and while there’s truth in that, the fact is they should have been better prepared and more transparent. Unfortunately, we are all living with the consequences of deregulation and a toxic dependency on dirty fracked gas. Only 5% of New York’s energy comes from wind and solar. The way we drive down costs for consumers while meeting our urgent climate goals is to pass the Build Public Renewables Act and empower the public sector to dramatically increase clean energy production.”
The assemblymember also shared resources on Twitter for folks who might require assistance in paying for these increases.
According to NY 1, Con Edison, which provides energy to at least 10 million residents of New York City and Westchester, will petition the state for another price increase on electric and gas in 2023. They must obtain the approval of New York’s State Public Service Commission, the agency with jurisdiction over the state’s electric, gas, and steam utilities.
“In January 2020, the State Public Service Commission voted to allow Con Edison to raise electric prices by 13.5% and gas prices by 25%, in yearly increments, by this year,” NY 1 reports.
ConEd officials say these price hikes are necessary to ensure that they can upgrade their gas and electric delivery systems.
James Denn, a spokesperson for the Public Service Commission, said in an emailed statement to Greenpointers:
“Commodity or supply prices are not regulated by the PSC; they are driven by global supply and demand. Con Edison’s recent rate filing will be carefully scrutinized as part of an 11-month formal review process. During the review period we will carefully scrutinize the companies’ rate filings and subject them to a rigorous investigative process with ample opportunity for public comment. To address the increase in supply prices, Governor Hochul recently announced that more than $373 million in home heating aid will be available for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the winter season.
Additionally, Governor Hochul has made $150 million in federal funding available to help low-income households pay heating utility arrears if they do not qualify for the that assistance under New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Further, in 2021 the PSC increased the budget for the statewide Energy Affordability Policy (EAP) program from $237.6 million to $366.7 million and expanded eligibility, resulting in about 95,000 more low-income customers that will be able to receive benefits.”
As to why prices increased so much at this particular moment, there are a few different potential factors. The cold weather can impact supply and demand, as and current affairs in other parts of the world can also affect this. “The increase in supply charges is a direct result of very high natural gas prices that power plants use as fuel,” said an anonymous source with professional knowledge of electricity markets, “High natural gas prices are driven by gas demand for heating (when it’s cold) but also by HUGE demand from Europe and Asia.”
Con Edison did not respond to Greenpointers request for comment.
Greenpointers received the following statement from Council Member Lincoln Restler, which we are publishing below:
“We’ve received complaints from many dozens of neighbors who were blindsided by a doubling or even tripling of their January ConEd bill. We’re organizing Brooklyn Council Members to urge the New York State Public Service Commission to take immediate action to look out for consumers. We are also encouraging all constituents to file complaints against ConEd with the Department of Public Service’s complaint line. Residents can call 800-342-3377 today to file their complaint about the unfair spike in their ConEd bill.“