YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – In a letter to New York State’s Public Service Commission, Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater called the proposed 23% rate increase for local NYSEG customers an insult. Slater, who served as Chief of Staff to New York State Senator Terrence Murphy pointed to the disastrous preparation and response to Winter Storms Quinn and Riley which left more than 100,000 customers in the dark including 83% of NYSEG’s Brewster division, which serves Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess counties.
“If approved, this rate increase will have a crushing impact on every member of Yorktown’s community,” Slater said. “Our seniors on fixed incomes cannot continue to take it on the chin, our local businesses are barely keeping their doors open and our families struggle every month to make ends meet. The fact that we are now staring at a utility rate increase of 23% is unconscionable.”
Following the 2018 storms Slater helped organize two Senate hearings focused on the lack of preparation and poor response by local utility companies. The CEOs of Central Hudson, Con Edison and NYSEG all testified at a hearing at the State Capitol that highlighted the infrastructure and communication deficiencies that impacted the region.
As a result of the hearings Slater assisted in writing and introducing S.7262A which strengthened the required emergency plans, directed the PSC to review reimbursement policies for customers and required system restoration performance reports following outages that lasted more than three days. In addition, the legislation required any penalties or settlements related to Winter Storms Quinn and Riley be invested directly into the areas impacted for communication upgrades, vegetation management and first responder training among other items. The legislation passed the Senate but was never brought up for a vote in the Assembly.
“It is simply unacceptable, considering the pattern of failures by NYSEG, to consider raising rates for customers,” Slater wrote. “Residents deserve a plan and proven results that they can rely on. To date, NYSEG has failed to adequately achieve either of these objectives.”
Slater is a NYSEG customer. The full letter can be found here.