Lavine: Public Service Commission Must Alert Elected Officials of Rate Increase Requests

January 19, 2018

Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (D – North Shore LI) has introduced legislation that will force the Public Service Commission to notify elected officials whenever a water supply corporation requests a hearing to increase rates, charges or service changes.

The bill (A08903) will require that members of congress, state legislators and elected officials on the municipal level must be given the opportunity to review the request in order to be able to fight for the economic rights of their residents.

The current law only requires the Public Service Commission to inform the parties they believe will be affected by an increase to their water rates. Public hearing notifications are only found on its website, the state registry and buried in local newspapers.

In the case of American Water, the Public Service Commission did not send out public hearing notice to elected officials and furthermore never provided a public hearing in the communities that were most seriously impacted by increased water rates such as Sea Cliff, Glen Head and Glenwood Landing. Many North Shore residents whose water supply is provided by American Water saw their monthly bills increase dramatically.

“My legislation will give elected officials the chance to represent our citizens by participating in the public hearing process and therefore avoiding unexpected changes that will create economic hardships for many of those affected.” Lavine said. “Not having regulations in place that include advance notice to those elected to serve the public sets a dangerous precedent.”