SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — With a spate of recent Con Ed outages throughout Dyker Heights, Gravesend and Bath Beach, residents are none too pleased to learn that the gas and electric giant is on the verge of a rate hike come the first of next year.
Under a three-year proposal reached by Con Ed, state utility regulators and customer advocates, rates will rise by an average 4.2 percent in 2020, 4.7 percent in 2021 and 4 percent in 2022 under the new plan.
The exact amount of the increase will be contingent upon how much electricity a person is already using. For example, the Daily News reported that “someone living in a New York City apartment who uses 300 kilowatt hours per month will see their bill rise 3.9 percent next year to $76.43. A 300 kilowatt hour bill will jump 4.5 percent in 2021 to $79.83, and 3.8 percent to $82.86 in 2022.”
The rate hikes come fast on the heels of some of the worst power outages ever in these neighborhoods, this past summer. On July 21 for example, Con Ed deliberately shut off power to 33,000 Brooklyn customers as the company was dealing with increased demand for electricity during a heat wave.
Bay Ridge resident and AARP member June Johnson is concerned with the affordability of the rate hike and Con Ed’s poor track record within the community. “I’m 77 years young, and my husband and I have lived in Bay Ridge our whole lives, and I’m really very upset with the rising cost of everything, including upcoming rate hikes from Con Ed,” Johnson told this paper.
“You can very well see why people are leaving New York. While I live comfortably, I really can’t see putting out money for higher bills and getting less in return and poorer services. It really upsets me because it’s money taken out of our pockets that we would be enjoying with our children and grandchildren.”
Johnson also referenced recent power outages that affected her neighborhood. “My husband always has all our flashlights ready with fresh batteries so we’re prepared,” said Johnson. “I live close to the avenue and going out and seeing the lights out recently on Fifth Avenue is scary. We’re paying more for gas and electricity and getting less,” she added.
City Councilmember Justin Brannan, a Democrat who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, was equally frustrated by the potential rate hike.
“Another day, another utility company asking hard-working New Yorkers to pay more for less,” Brannan told this paper. “It is unacceptable that in one of the greatest and innovative cities in the world, we are asking constituents to pay more for reliably unreliable electricity and gas service. Not to mention, this will do absolutely nothing to alleviate our dependence on a rapidly aging and insufficient energy grid.”
Brannan said there was only one viable solution. “Instead of burning our hard-earned cash on an energy system that just isn’t working, we should be investing in alternative and sustainable energy solutions that will help shepherd us through the climate crisis. We should not accept a single rate hike until we have better service and a plan for moving beyond the grid as it stands,” he added.