Niagara Gazette

April 14, 2014

Electrical rate hike explanation sought

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A state assemblyman representing Niagara County has asked the New York Public Service Commission for an explanation for recent bill increases passed along to local National Grid customers. 

In letters from his office to both the PSC and National Grid, state Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, citing a high volume of complaints from constituents who were in some cases charged 50 percent more for their electrical bills, Ceretto said he’d like to know why rates increased so much. Ceretto said he hopes an explanation will help reveal ways that similar increases can be avoided in the future.

“My constituents have been hit hard by the dramatic increase in electric rates this winter, and they want to know why,” Ceretto said. “I am asking for a thorough justification from National Grid and the PSC in regard to these hikes.”

Ceretto noted that consumers who want to do something about their rates can switch to fixed rates offered by some providers. This removes the risk of being hit by rate spikes in winter, but also locks you into the same rate even if prices drop due to low energy consumption. Individual consumers will need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see what works best for them.

“Everyone whose budgets have been squeezed by these rate hikes deserves an explanation from both National Grid and the PSC,” Ceretto said. “I intend to act on behalf of my constituents and get to the bottom of why this rate spike happened and figure out what can be done to prevent this from happening again.”