“The Rockland water company’s proposal to raise bills by 17 percent over three years is being criticized by local officials, days before a public hearing.
Suez New York’s attempt to get customers to pay for costs related to its failed Haverstraw desalination plant accounts for 65 percent of the increase — a source of controversy among local activists and officials.
A joint proposal between Suez and the state Public Service Commission staff calls for rate hikes of 5.9 percent in the first year, 5.6 percent in the second year, and 5.3 percent in the third year.
County officials from both parties are poking holes in the request ahead of Thursday’s hearing in New City.
“Rockland residents should not be left holding the bag for an ill-advised and poorly managed project — especially one that no one wanted and one that was ultimately shown to be unnecessary,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day, whose office went to court seeking to block Suez from charging ratepayers for $38 million the company says was spent pursuing the desalination plant.
The county contends that too many of Suez’s expense documents were redacted and wants the rate-hike approval delayed until after its legal action is decided. Suez has sought to have the action dismissed, and the county plans to file papers opposing the motion on Monday.
“Just because the Public Service Commission failed to perform its responsibility of watching out for the ratepayer doesn’t mean that Rockland residents should have to reimburse Suez for millions that they spent on something that no one wanted,” added Day, a Republican.
County Legislator Harriet Cornell, who chairs the Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management, said the proposal failed to go deep enough when it comes to reducing the amount of water lost to leaks or implementing conservation measures.”
Read the complete Journal News article here.
HOW TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSAL
The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Legislative Chambers of the Rockland County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Road in New City.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to make a statement at the hearing. It is not necessary to make an appointment in advance, or to present written material to speak.
Residents can comment online by visiting www.dps.ny.gov, click on “Search,” enter the case number (16-W-0130), and then click on “Post Comments” at the top of the page.
Comments may be emailed to the Secretary to the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed or delivered to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.
You also can call the Commission’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120, 24 hours a day.
Comments submitted via these alternate means are requested by Dec. 9.