Skip to comments.Electric Shock’ – NYS Overcharged Utility Customers $250 Million
Posted on 06/15/2014 10:48:30 AM PDT by PoloSec
In a shocking report, a member of the Public Service Commission has revealed that utility customers in New York State were overcharged approximately $250 million over the last five years as part of a state-mandated surcharge on energy bills.
In 2009, New York imposed the 18-a energy surcharge on residents paying utility bills and ordered utilities in the state to collect the extra money. In the time since, a total of $2.9 billion has been collected from ratepayers from the allegedly temporary tax. Even more notably, none of this additionally charged amount was actually channeled to energy conservation or energy-saving programs, Public Service Commission member Diane Burman said late last week. Instead, the money was placed into the states general fund.
What I find disturbing is we are having to revisit just how awful the 2009 law was and the devastating effects the collections can have on New Yorkers, Burman stated at the P.S.C.s monthly meeting. We are now first addressing that in some cases the collections may have been significantly over-collected to the tune of close to $250 million dollars.
In response, P.S.C. spokesman James Denn said it was not accurate to declare that consumers were overcharged. Rather, as he put it, utilities collecting extra charges from customers built a positive cash balance, which the commission is now requiring them to reconcile to zero.
Burman, one of the states highest-level energy regulators, said that New York State was not doing enough to protect utility customers and save them money, adding that high energy costs end up hurting the states economic costs. She insisted that the state needs to do a better job of protecting customers and accounting for the surcharges that are added to their energy bills.
I continue to remain concerned that our over-reliance on energy-tax surchargeswhich extends beyond just 18-a surcharges but also with other non-legislatively enacted State surcharges, Burman said, and the way they are being collected and allowed to build up are setting us up for more problems and complications.
The 18-a assessment was originally scheduled to expire this year, but it was extended by Governor Cuomo as part of last years budget. The Business Council of New York estimated the surcharge would cost taxpayers $2.8 billion over the next six years. In reaction, as part of this years budget agreement, the governor and the Legislature agreed to phase out the surcharge by the year 2017.
On Thursday, the P.S.C. unanimously approved the accelerated phase out of the 18-a surcharge. Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said the venue was not the correct forum to determine whether or not the energy surcharge was effective, since it was created by the state Legislature. I dont think its appropriate for us to debate tax policy here, she said, before voting to approve the more rapid 18-a phaseout. A spokesman for Governor Cuomo spokesman did not return a request for comment.
No problem about reconciling to zero. I’m sure the funds found a way into politician pockets.
State sanctioned robbery.
NYS has always used public utilities as “tax” collectors. This lets the utility take the heat for a communist state government.
Under obama’s regime, your electricity rates will skyrocket. The man said so himself. So suck it up and hope you have some change left after getting fleeced.
You get what you vote for - enjoy NYers.
The day I lost my job in Buffalo in mar 2010, I never knew the BLESSING it would be! SO GLAD TO BE BACK IN TEXAS!
This past winter, a large power plant in Queens had to use aviation fuel to run the plant because of shortages in natural gas supplies. The plant is forbidden to use diesel because the environmental nazis call it harmful to the environment. Aviation fuel cost about five times the amount of natural gas. My power bill in the winter months was three times the normal bill. New Yorkers pay the second highest power rates in the US. The 18-a tax is part of the reason why. Funny how a temporary tax that was used to balance the state budget is still in effect five years later.
Isn’t NY one of those states that has more people moving out than in? Gee, I wonder why?
This crap goes on in virtually every mandated utility or service. Look at phone bills. You cant tell what or who gets the fees, it’s out of control.
People who live in New York (except conservatives) have NO RIGHT to complain about being overtaxed - THEY DEMAND IT, actually.
The phone bill thing is getting so ridiculous, that I predict five years from now many people will use universal WiFi and Skype or some similar VOIP technology for phone calls.
I have 911 fees extracted and my county is notorious for being unable to route 911 calls period. I won’t call 911 under any condition.