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Slater Seeking to Make Utility Companies More Transparent with Bill 

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State Assemblyman Matt Slater (R, C-Yorktown) has introduced legislation that would make utility companies more transparent regarding supply costs that are being passed on to consumers.

Citing rising electricity costs throughout the region during a press conference last week in Putnam County, Slater’s bill would require utility companies to share supply rate increases on their website.

“Representatives from every level of government are hearing from our constituents about another round of back-breaking utility bills that just keep going up,” Slater said. “With the cost of living in the Hudson Valley among the highest in the country, these unpredictable bills are making our families, businesses and especially seniors on a fixed income financially vulnerable during a time when inflation is still sky-high and New York’s affordability crisis persists.”

A major reason cited by companies for increases in utility rates is the volatility of the supply market. Those costs are then passed on to ratepayers by utility companies, some of which predicted supply costs to escalate above 45% this winter.

To combat this, Slater and Putnam County officials believe companies should be more transparent with this information, including posting the energy supply costs on their website to better inform consumers.

“From a fundamental consumer-protection standpoint, what we’re asking for is basic transparency from the utility company,” said Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne. “Ratepayers deserve to be able to understand what they are paying for; is this the utility or the supply-side increase? Individuals and families on fixed incomes need that heads up, they need to be able to plan for utility bill increases they may not have budgeted for.”

Paul Jonke, Chairman of the Putnam County Legislature, said county lawmakers have sought assistance from NYSEG to residents with limited results.

“We have never received any clear answers. For transparency and the protection of our residents, I am thankful for the work Assemblyman Slater is doing,” Jonke said.

Putnam County Legislator Joe Castellano added, “I have heard from many residents in my district who don’t understand why their utility bills continue to rise. Providing readily available information will help them understand why the costs continue to rise.”

Slater said he also sent a letter to the Chairman of the New York State Public Service

Commission, the state entity that regulates utility companies across New York, demanding greater transparency of supply costs by the PSC and NYSEG.

Slater reminded the chairman the supply cost increases will be in addition to the proposed 31% rate hike that NYSEG has requested from New York State. Slater renewed his opposition to this rate hike, which according to AARP, would be the largest rate hike approved in state history.

 

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