Responding to Legislator Steve Rhoads' demand to extend the deadline for public comment, the Public Service Commission announced on Monday that it would extend the deadline for the public to submit their comments on the Joint Proposal to be considered by the Public Service Commission to April 7, 2017. The Joint Proposal, which was negotiated by Commission staff, New York American Water and organizations that registered as parties to the proceeding, will result in an astounding 41% compounded rate increase over the life of the 4-year rate plan if approved.
Legislator Rhoads, who opposed the initial rate hike proposal on behalf of his constituents at the Public Service Commission's Public Hearings in July 2016 in Oceanside and October 2016 in Wantagh, excoriated the Joint Proposal, attacking not only the overall rate increase, but the fact that the Proposal actually provides a greater increase within Service Area 2, which encompasses the majority of his district, than New York American Water initially requested. "In the face of already high rates for a service which the consumer has no choice but to subscribe, it is outrageous enough that the parties to this Rate Proceeding somehow negotiated what equates to a 41% rate increase over the lifespan of the Joint Proposal, but to ask my constituents to effectively subsidize ratepayers in other service areas adds insult to injury", Rhoads said.
Stating that New York American Water has a "monopoly in the truest sense of the word, Rhoads reminded the Public Service Commission that "[t]he absence of competition for these services prevents market forces from demanding a better quality product at a reasonable price. That’s why your role in scrutinizing New York American Water and protecting consumers is critically important." Rhoads concluded that "[t]he Joint Proposal represents a clear failure on the part of the Staff and the parties to do that and I respectfully urge the Public Service Commission to reject it."
If you have not yet submitted a comment, or would like to submit another, please do not miss your opportunity to do so through one of the following methods:
By Internet or Mail: Go to the Web site (www.dps.ny.gov), click on "Search," enter the case number (16-W-0259), and then click on "Post Comments" at the top of the page. Alternatively, e-mail comments may be sent directly to the Secretary to the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or they may be mailed or delivered to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. All written comments will become part of the record in this proceeding and will be reported to the Commission for its consideration. All submitted comments may be accessed on the Commission's Web site by searching the case number and clicking on the “Public Comments” tab. Many libraries offer free Internet access.
By Toll-Free Opinion Line: You may call the Commission's Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This number is set up to take comments about pending cases from in-State callers, 24-hours a day. These comments are not transcribed verbatim, but a summary is provided to the Commission