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Con Edison Reaches Agreement With Cuomo To Freeze Rates

A Con Edison truck (credit: Getty Images)

A Con Edison truck (credit: Getty Images)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Consolidated Edison has agreed to freeze its base electricity rates for two years and gas and steam rates for three years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

The agreement also requires that Con Ed invest to strengthen its energy grid, improve energy efficiency and accelerate its transition to cleaner energy. The pact comes after Cuomo called in October for the Public Service Commission to reject the utility’s proposed rate hike.

Cuomo was highly critical of the company’s response following superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

“This is a clear victory for consumers and businesses, particularly those who suffered through power outages from Superstorm Sandy last year,” Cuomo said in a news release. “New Yorkers deserve stable power rates and a reliable electric system that is clean and fortified to withstand and respond to the impacts of future extreme weather. With this groundbreaking settlement, we have achieved both of these critical elements for ratepayers in New York City and Westchester County.”

The settlement must be approved by the PSC. The rate freezes would begin Wednesday.

The deal also offers other benefits to Con Ed customers, the governor’s office said, including:
– Improving and increasing discounts associated with low-income electric and gas programs
– Expanding Con Ed’s capability to reconnect most customers the same day they are eligible to have service restored
– Strengthening performance measure targets for customer service
– Expanding performance measure targets for gas safety violations.

The City of New York was among the parties who signed off on the agreement.

“Today the City agreed to a settlement that will keep money in the pockets of New Yorkers while also helping to protect the City from future storms,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on his last day in office, said in a statement. ” … We showed Con Ed and the Public Service Commission where the power grid is vulnerable and what needs to be done about it, and they listened.”

Meanwhile, Long Island Power Authority customers can expect a nearly $17 increase on their January bills despite a rate freeze that was supposed to be in place, CBS 2 reported.

Officials said the increase in January is due to an unanticipated jump in natural gas prices and that the three-year rate freeze brokered by Gov. Cuomo in a LIPA reform bill earlier this year is still in place.

The hike will appear on LIPA bills as a power supply charge, CBS 2 reported.

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