Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads is calling on the New York State Public Service Commission, (PSC), to reject a Joint Proposal for a New York American Water, (NYAW), rate hike that was negotiated by Commission Staff, the Company and outside groups listed as parties to the Proceeding. Rhoads had strongly opposed NYAW’s initial rate hike request both in writing and at the Public Service Commission’s Public Hearings on July 13, 2016 in Oceanside and on October 26, 2016 in Wantagh.
In a letter to the PSC, Legislator Rhoads cited a lack of transparency in the process and a devastating burden to affected residents as reasons for opposing the rate hike. “In the face of already high rates for a service which the consumer has no choice but to subscribe, it is outrageous that the parties to this Rate Proceeding somehow negotiated what equates to a 41% rate increase over the lifespan of the Joint Proposal,” said Legislator Rhoads. “It is unconscionable.”
The lack of public transparency was also a concern. Legislator Rhoads noted that while the Public Service Commission made documents available as required by law, the documents that were available were technical in nature and difficult for the general public to understand.
“There was no attempt to provide the information in a way that can be understood by people who are unfamiliar with terminology used by the Commission in this industry,” noted Rhoads. “There was also no discernible attempt to notify the public of the opportunity to provide input, and I’m asking the Public Service Commission to extend the public comment period.”
“Water s a basic necessity of life, Where, as here, the public has no choice but to do business with a single provider who has a monopoly on that basic necessity, it is the Public Service Commission that must step in to protect the consumer. I’m asking them to do their job”, Rhoads concluded.