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NYSEG, RG&E file rate case settlement with PSC

NYSEG and RG&E, both subsidiaries of AVANGRID, have announced the proposed rate settlement case that they have filed with the New York Public Service Commission.

NYSEG electric customers would see about a 2.3% increase in the first year, with the average monthly customer seeing a monthly increase of $2.49. In years two and three, NYSEG’s electric delivery increase will be 9.1% in each year with bill increases for the average customer of $4.13 and $5.54.

For NYSEG natural gas customers, the delivery charge increase for years two and three is 0.8% and 1.6%, with a monthly bill increase of $.55 and $1.20.

The proposed settlement changes the start of increases which were originally planned for May to October of this year.

For RG&E customers, the utility says the three-year agreement calls for about a 1.4% impact on customers in the first year, with the monthly increase of $0.37.

Increases are higher in the 2nd and 3rd years, with the average electric delivery rate increase of 5.2% in each of those two years, with an expected monthly bill increase of $3.82 and $4.14 for the average residential customer.

For RG&E, the total bill (including both the delivery and the supply charge) for the typical residential electric customer would increase by about 3.5% per year, while gas rates would be less than 1% per year. 

Both RG&E and NYSEG natural gas customers would see no delivery increases in the first year. RG&E gas customers would see a 0.3% increase for residential customers in the 2nd year, and a 1.3% increase in the third year, which would work out to a monthly bill increase of $.20 and $.83.

The settlement also provides up to $30 million for COVID-19 relief for the customers of the two utilities, targeted toward the most vulnerable and small commercial business customers.

Officials with the two utilities say this plan also has the companies committing to support the state’s clean energy future, such as working toward a zero-net increase in gas usage. That involves incentives for using heat pumps and continuing to fix all leaks in the gas system each year.

The settlement also calls for investing in aging infrastructure and adding line workers and field personnel to shore up support for storm readiness and system emergencies. The plan also provides for the implementation of the so-called “smart meters” for all electric and gas customers to help them better manage their energy usage. Meter installation will begin in 2022 with the process happening over three years.

"The proposed settlement, which dramatically reduces the initially proposed rate increases in the first year by over 70%, keeps natural gas rates low, provides increased protections for low-income customers and creates a $30 million emergency financial relief program for customers financially impacted by COVID-19, while also advancing New York’s clean energy agenda," said PSC Spokesman James Denn.

Carl Taylor, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E, said that with the settlement, it will limit the rate impact to ensure that the customers of the two utilities will continue to have among the lowest electric and gas rates in the state. He also said that the proposed plan "will enable much needed investment in our infrastructure and harnesses the power of technology to make our system more resilient, providing for a better customer experience."

The settlement case must still be approved by the full PSC in September. That decision happens after a period of public comment on the proposed settlement.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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