New York State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) has announced that the New York Assembly passed A. 8837, which would require utility companies to post notices of public hearings concerning rate hikes on monthly bills. The bill will now be sent to the Senate, where it is sponsored by Senator John Brooks (D-Seaford).
New Yorkers deserve a seat at the table when utility rate hikes are proposed, said Jean-Pierre. Far too often, consumers who are directly impacted by rate increases are left out of the decision-making process. Most consumers find out about increases after they show up on their bills hurting families that are already struggling to make ends meet.
Senator Brooks and I introduced legislation to give New Yorkers a stronger voice by requiring utility companies to notify consumers of upcoming public hearings regarding any proposed increases on their monthly bill, including the date, time and location (A.8837/S.4717). This measure is now one step closer to becoming law, and Ill keep fighting until it does.
"More often than not, consumers are notified of rate hikes after the fact and often feel blindsided by skyrocketing gas and electric bills, said Senator Brooks. The current system lacks transparency and we must do more to keep the public informed of issues that directly affect their finances. Many Long Island families simply cannot afford these constant rate increases, particularly seniors on fixed incomes. Utility companies should be forced to consider the severe economic impact of rate hikes before increasing peoples utility bills."
High utility bills exacerbate the already high cost of living on Long Island and throughout New York State, said Jean-Pierre. The need for this legislation is underscored by National Grids recent proposed increases to gas and electric rates for residential and commercial customers. As always, Im working to make life in Suffolk County more affordable so that our families can get ahead, and not just get by.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.