RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)AARP is one of many groups voicing opposition to a plan by LIPA and PSEG Long Island for a 4-percent, three-year delivery rate hike.

PSEG officials say they need the $440 million generated by the increase to expand maintenance programs and fund new system upgrades, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported.

But opposition to the rate-hike request was strong at a public hearing Monday night in Riverhead.

“It would be the highest electric-rate increase in the history of LIPA at a time when Long Islanders already pay among the highest residential electric rates in the United States,” AARP spokesman Erik Kriss told Xirinachs.

Kriss added that customers’ bills could soar even higher because the proposal “includes a mechanism for PSEG to increase other charges.”

If approved by LIPA’s board, the new rates would go into effect next year.