Featured Story

Power company defends rates

COURTESY PHOTO PSEG provided this chart reflecting what it calls “flat” average customer bills over a 10-year period.
COURTESY PHOTO PSEG provided this chart reflecting what it calls “flat” average customer bills over a 10-year period.

As state legislators from the area try to change requirements for assessing Long Island Power Authority/PSEG rate hike requests, a PSEG spokesman said rates here on average are less than they are in many areas of the country.

Director of Communications Jeffrey Weir produced a 2017 study by J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information services company, that reported the average PSEG residential customer pays $156 a month for electricity.

That compares favorably with other power providers, including South Carolina Electric & Gas, Alabama Power, Lakeland Electric, Mississippi Power, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Kentucky Power and several others.

Monthly bills for the others range from $181 to $218.

Residential rates for PSEG also remain competitive in the New York Metropolitan area, according to statistics Mr. Weir provided from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

PSEG residential customers pay 16.33 cents per kilowatt hour while Con Edison customers in New York City pay 25.23 cents.

Customer bills sent by PSEG have remained “flat” during the past 10 years despite a 2015 increase in delivery costs spread over a three-year period, Mr. Weir said.

PSEG residential customers were seeing average bills of $154.26 per month in 2008, Those on a budget plan for 2017 were being assessed $155.26 per month, and it’s anticipated that number will drop to $150.96 when figures for 2017 are worked out, he said. This year, the company projects residential customers will be paying an average of $158.61 on the budget plan.

“I think that these charts tell a very compelling story and articulate the facts very well,” Mr. Weir said.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) argued in a press release that while the state is working to keep costs down by imposing a 2 percent tax cap on municipalities and school districts, PSEG imposed a 7.3 percent delivery charge.

But spread over three years, that charge amounted to an approximate increase of 2.43 percent per year, Mr. Weir said.

Nonetheless, the legislators want consumers to be heard on any future request for a rate hike. Under current legislation, there doesn’t need to be a public hearing. Long Island Power Authority trustees need only consider whether a requested rate hike is consistent with  sound fiscal operating practices; meets existing contractual obligations; and enable PSEG to deliver safe and adequate service.