Debate over proposed National Grid rate hike

BUFFALO, N.Y.(WKBW) - Erie County lawmakers heard arguments from all sides today concerning National Grid’s proposed rate hike. 

National Grid says the increase is needed to maintain and improve infrastructure — while adding 250 jobs. It would raise the average customer’s bill by about 11-percent over the span of three years. 

Jessica Azulay with Alliance for a Green Economy thinks the rate hike is a bad idea, because a lot of people just can’t afford it. 

“We just think it’s totally unfair to put the bill and full cost of what they want to do on rate payers especially low income customers,” Azulay said. 

People like Joe Maxwell in East Amherst are turning to roof top solar panels to cut the cost of utilities. 

“My particular house is nets. I don’t have gas or utilities bills. I just pay for a hook up. I’m just on the grid in case something goes wrong,” Maxwell said. 

Maxwell said the panels allow him to save money to spend on other bills. However, he’s not sold on weather he’s really making a difference for the environment. 

The New York State Public Service Commission will have to give the National Grid proposal a stamp of approval before any rate hike can take effect. 

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