NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s an electric bill shocker for New York City residents.
In a stunning move, the federal government granted a windfall $1.5 billion increase to the companies that produce electricity, sending bills soaring for the next three summers.
A furious Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday the hefty hike is unwarranted and that he is trying to appeal, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
It’s no April fool’s joke. The federal government said companies that produce the city’s electricity can zap you, handing you an increase of 10 to 15 percent a year every year for the next three years.
“Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. I’m paying natural gas, electricity about $100 a month. It’s totally unfair,” East Elmhurst resident Hugh Chrysler said.
“We’re in a recession. Everybody’s looking to make a dollar. Why should we pay more?” added Steve Hafner of Astoria.
“We’re retired. We live on a fixed income. Everything is going up. Our checks are not going up,” said Ann Iavelli of Jackson Heights.
Officials said the average apartment dweller will pay as much as $96 a month this summer. Last July the bill was $87. The average small business could pay as much as $2,946 a month. Last July it was $2,576.
But many small businesses have bills a whole lot bigger than that. The owner of Mike’s Diner in Astoria said his monthly bill right now is $9,000. He’s anticipating a gigantic increase unless it’s stopped.
“It’s gonna go up like $2,000 more a month. I don’t think you can afford to pay that. The economy is struggling. It’s not picking up yet,” Kostas Pavlakos said.
Mayor Bloomberg said the increase is totally unwarranted because the feds based it on the assumption the companies will have to pay high real estate taxes here. In fact, the city gives power companies tens of millions of dollars in annual tax breaks.
“We think it’s a windfall. We don’t think it has any benefit to New Yorkers,” Bloomberg said. “It’s also very hard on people and businesses to pay higher energy costs.”
State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents blackout-plagued Astoria, is also demanding the feds rescind the hike.
“This is going to be hands in the pockets or rate payers of New York, going directly into a windfall for the power generators. It’s a scandal,” Gianaris said.
And here’s how you know the feds may have made a big mistake. Even Con Edison, which raised its own rates 4 percent Friday, said the hike is unfair to its customers. It, too, is petitioning the feds to kill it, and so is Sen. Charles Schumer.
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