This story has been updated.
Residents across parts of Northern Westchester and Putnam County are looking for an explanation as to why their energy bills, in some cases, quadrupled between the months of December and January.
A quadrupling of energy bills far outpaced this winter's unusually cold weather, according to two Hudson Valley lawmakers who are turning up the heat on New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) to get the answers customers deserve.
State Sen. Terrence Murphy said, "Hudson Valley ratepayers are strapped with some of the highest energy costs in the nation. They deserve an explanation and some transparency about why their bills doubled, tripled or quadrupled in just one month. If this is an issue requiring State action we will surely take action."
In a letter to the president of NYSEG, the lawmakers said that area ratepayers are forced to choose between paying for needed goods -- like food and medicine -- and their growing energy bills. The letter asks for an explanation of the increased rates, if a payment plan is available and what communication plan does the company have in place to warn consumers of rising or spiking costs.
Assemblyman Kevin Byrne stated, "It's crazy that some of our neighbors recently learned that their utility bills have skyrocketed by as much as 400 percent. For some people, it could mean the difference between affording food and expensive medications or heating their homes. I will continue to work with our partners in government for greater accountability and transparency."
NYSEG spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, "NYSEG customers may see an increase in their electric bills due to ongoing low temperatures that may have increased usage, and increases in the market supply price of electricity. That being said, customer bills are comprised of two components: supply and delivery. The supply portion of a customer’s bill is provided by NYSEG or another energy services company chosen by the customer."
"If a customer’s supply is provided by NYSEG, the company procures supply from the market and the market determines the supply price which will vary. This winter, supply and demand have caused the wholesale price of electricity to increase significantly. These prices are passed on to customers without markup and NYSEG does not profit from supply charges. Delivery charges cover the costs to distribute electricity from its original source to a customer’s home or business. There have been no changes in NYSEG delivery charges," Ortiz said.
NYSEG also offers assistance to customers with managing energy bills. That information is on its homepage at www.NYSEG.com .
Rosalie Meli Cicogna, a resident of Heritage Hills in Somers, said she was shocked when she received her enormous bill, especially because she has made her home energy-efficient.
"This is an egregious breach of confidence between NYSEG and its customers," Cicogna said. "We're led to believe that being energy-conscious will be rewarded. I've gone to great lengths to make my home efficient, only to be punished with a sky-high bill."
A copy of their letter to NYSEG is attached below and can be accessed by clicking here.See Attachment
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.