New Yorkers will face another costly burden as a sizable spike in their gas and electric bills is set to take place next month.
Con Edison, the utility company responsible for providing energy to 10 million people in New York City and Westchester County, justified the decision to raise rates in an interview with Fox News Digital.
"Our customers demand safe and reliable service and increasingly renewable energy. This investment from customers is going to allow us to redesign and rebuild the grid, to move it towards electrification," Con Ed media relations director Jamie McShane told Fox News Digital.
"We're very aware [of] the burden that this puts on customers who are struggling to pay their bills," he continued.
Last week, the energy company announced that the state had approved its plan to raise customer rates and acquire more than $11 billion by 2025 to fund initiatives contributing to New York’s clean energy goals.
Under the new rate plan, the average resident would see a $14.44 increase — or 9.1% — to their monthly bill beginning in August, according to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) analysis.
The rate gradually becomes larger, meaning that customers will be paying an additional $7.20, or 4.2%, starting January 2024 and $2.43, or 1.4%, by January 2025. A report from the New York Post claimed customers’ monthly bills could double by 2025, which McShane refuted as "inaccurate."
"I can tell you that customers are going to see a 15%-20% increase over three years as a result of this investment plan," Con Ed’s media relations director said. "This investment plan is going to allow us to address the effects of climate change, invest in a clean energy transition, a transition that our customers demand and want to take part in."
But some still aren’t pleased to hear the news. Briana Delvecchio, a customer in White Plains, lives in a garden apartment with her family of three. She currently pays $305 a month for electricity and believes the plan is "ridiculous."
"It's upsetting. And I feel bad for my parents, they pay over $800 a month and my mom would like to retire and she can't," Delvecchio told Fox News Digital. "It's ridiculous, it's not fair. How are we going to live?"
"It's definitely going to add to the financial strain of New Yorkers. I think that we're all really struggling to get ahead… it's not just the Con Ed bill, it's also buying a car, buying a house, buying groceries. It's impossible. We can't afford anything," she added.
McShane emphasized Con Ed’s awareness around cost of living difficulties as inflation shows signs of cooling after reaching decade highs.
"We understand the burden on New Yorkers and how expensive everything is for New Yorkers, and that's why we have very flexible and very generous payment plans," McShane said. "We urge customers to get in touch with us. We can connect you with assistance programs."
While Con-Ed confirmed its intentions to use the extra funds for renewable energy initiatives like electrification, battery deployment, powerline "smart switches" and more, the rate increase will also go towards paying property taxes and delivery fees.
"One of the things that people are really not aware of is that one-third of your utility bill is really taxes — state, local, federal taxes — $2.5 billion of that is property taxes that we're giving back to the government to fund for vital city services. But that is something that we don't have any control over," the media relations director explained.
"Another third of the bill is supply, which we don't make a profit on or control, [and] the third of the bill that we are really responsible for is the delivery," McShane added. "We're really a pipes and wires company, and we deliver energy."
Con Ed firmly supported a transition to delivering 100% clean energy by 2040. In its press release announcing the rate hike plan, its chairman and CEO called the shift "critical" to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
"The effects of climate change are demanding that we do more. We had the smoke from wildfires in Canada envelop New York City just a few weeks ago. We've seen extreme heat across the country, devastating flooding," McShane said. "So we know that New York has to do its part."
For customers like Delvecchio, a change such as this could make her household consider switching to solar.
"I would wait to see how much the bill increases before I made that decision," Delvecchio said. "There's probably hidden fees that come with that as well."
Con Ed’s media relations director reminded residents that multiple avenues of help are available.
"We have friendly terms that we can arrange if folks contact us," McShane said. "There's lots of programs that are available for seniors, for low-income households, and we want people to know that we're here."