BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — NYSEG customers could see a substantial rate hike on electrical service in the Spring of 2020.
The company has filed a proposal with the state body that sets electric and gas rates -- the New York Public Service Commission -- proposing revised rates for its service territories, including those in Western New York.
In the letter, NYSEG suggests that the company needs to increase NYSEG Electrical residential rates by 23.7 percent. This means the average customer will owe $10.17 more each month. Since the average monthly rate for NYSEG customers was $42 in 2018, the rate hike would raise the average monthly responsibility to $53.17.
The proposed rate hike for power delivery would give NYSEG an additional $157 million in revenue.
NYSEG says the increased rates will provide the revenue the company needs to modernize systems and networks to become more energy efficient and facilitate New York's clean energy mandates.
The increased revenue will also help NYSEG stay on top of other initiatives like vegetation management, hardening/resiliency and emergency preparedness.
NYSEG points to the particular importance of vegetation management because tree-related outages are the number one cause of electric service disruptions both during and outside of storm events.
In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the utility company on notice, saying that New Yorkers "expect a better level of service" from power companies, adding that NYSEG was historically bad at communicating outages. In March, Gov. Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate three damaged substations in Hamburg that happened during a wind storm. Those damages led to 30,000 outages.
The company also points out that NYSEG customers have the lowest average residential electric bills in New York.
The average monthly bill for a residential NYSEG customer in 2018 was $42/month. NYSEG says that's 26 percent lower than National Grid ($53/month) and at least 71 percent lower that the state's other three electrical giants, Con Edison ($79/month), Central Hudson ($75/month) and Orange & Rockland ($72/month).
NYSEG is also proposing more modest rate hikes for gas customers of 1.9 percent, which would increase an average customer's monthly bill by $1.05.
The proposal states these rates would go into effect on April 20, 2020 and would be for a term of one year.