AARP NY & PULP Offer Top 5 Reasons NYSEG & RG&E’s Proposed Double-Digit Rate Hike Should be Rejected

| October 7, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:             Contacts: Erik Kriss (AARP), [email protected], 518-360-9213

Wednesday, October 7, 2020          Richard Berkley (PULP), [email protected], 917-512-5334


AARP NY & PULP Offer Top 5 Reasons NYSEG & RG&E’s Proposed Double-Digit Rate Hike Should be Rejected

Regulators Set to Vote on Proposed Hike Oct. 15

ALBANY, NY  – AARP New York and the Public Utility Law Project today offered five compelling reasons state regulators should reject a proposed double-digit electric delivery rate increase on consumers Upstate and in the Hudson Valley.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) is scheduled to vote October 15 on the proposal, developed jointly by PSC staff, New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), to raise NYSEG customers rates by 24.5% and RG&E’s by 13.3% over the next 18 months.

The top five reasons to reject the proposal, according to the two consumer organizations:

  1. High Unemployment– The Rochester Metropolitan Area’s unemployment rate tripled in the past year, from 4.3% in 2019 to 12.9% according to the latest numbers (July 2020). With that many more customers out of work, this is no time to sock them with a double-digit utility rate increase.
  2. Contradicts State’s Own Policies – Governor Andrew Cuomo directed “state agencies to take appropriate action to assist local governments and individuals in containing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from this state disaster emergency… and to provide such other assistance as is necessary to protect public health, welfare, and safety,” as stated in his Executive Order 202. And, the PSC itself established a policy 40 years ago to moderate rate increases in times of economic distress. This is undoubtedly one of those times.
  3. Already Unaffordable Bills – The amount customers owed on past due bills ballooned by 44% for NYSEG customers and 32% for RG&E customers between February – just before the onset of the pandemic – and August, according to PSC data. A double-digit increase would undoubtedly deepen the financial crisis already affecting too many of the companies’ customers.
  4. Expensive & Discretionary “Smart Meter” Project – Customers would pay over $300 million for “smart meters” over the next six years under this rate hike proposal. Times of high unemployment and arrears from many customers is not the time to pull $300 million out of struggling ratepayers’ pockets for a discretionary expense that will benefit the companies, but not necessarily consumers.
  5. Winter is Coming – Struggling customers will already be facing higher heating bills with cold weather approaching. A rate hike would only drive their bills up more.


Follow AARP New York on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York


Follow PULP on Twitter: @UtilityProject and Facebook: UtilityProject


About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.


About PULP

The Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc. (“PULP”) is a nonprofit public interest law firm with the mission of educating, advocating and litigating on behalf of low- and fixed-income utility consumers in matters affecting affordability, universal service, and consumer protection. Learn more at, or, and follow us on Twitter @utilityproject.