NYSEG has a rate case before the state Public Service Commission proposing combined increases (electric and gas) of 27%. At the Binghamton hearing on NYSEG’s proposals, people complained about NYSEG’s demand for 9% profit as well as its policy of winter-heat-shutoffs for low-income customers. People pointed out that NYSEG has made it almost impossible to connect solar farms to the grid. NYSEG is the only utility without incentives for air source heat pumps. Speakers noted NYSEG’s frequent outages. My own NYSEG power was out at the time and only came on the next morning. Nearly everyone slammed NYSEG’s plan for pipeline expansion when state regulations — and climate change — tell us we must start pulling pipe out of the ground.

Of course, NYSEG just does what every corporation does: whatever it can get away with.

Teddy Roosevelt, a hundred years ago, said the state has the right to control corporations and is duty bound to reign them in whenever negligence and greed are evident: Regulated monopolies only work if the regulator advocates for the public. The PSC should not rubber stamp corporate plans that squander rate-payer dollars and fry the planet. The Climate Leadership Community Protection Act means the PSC must require utilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions and build electric grids capable of accommodating scaled renewables. NYSEG is headed back to the 1900s. We need the PSC to give them a dope slap.

PSC should require NYSEG to upgrade its 3-phase lines and substations to support beneficial electrification. If the DeRuyter pipeline must be replaced, the PSC should allow 50-miles of 8-inch pipe: we must burn less gas tomorrow than we burn today. If we can’t make this happen, it won’t be NYSEG, a foreign-owned corporation, to blame: The failure will be with the PSC.

Dennis Higgins


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