May 20, 2014

With Upstate New York Electricity Bills Expected to Rise This Month, Gillibrand Calls for Investigation of Electricity Market Manipulation

New Yorkers On National Grid Are Expected to See $30 Increase In Electric Bills This Month

Washington, D.C. With upstate New York electric bills expected to rise by an average of $30 starting this month, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called for a thorough investigation of potential electricity market manipulation by power companies this past winter. In her letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, Senator Gillibrand called for a speedy investigation as well as a timeline for results.

“New Yorkers already pay more than the national average for energy costs and after experiencing one of the coldest winters to date, it is imperative that they can find relief from high energy bills,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The instability and costliness of recent electricity prices create an added strain on families’ budgets and is simply unacceptable. FERC must expeditiously complete its study to analyze this increase.”

According to National Grid, many upstate New Yorkers will see an estimated $30 increase on their electricity bill this month, while already paying an average of $80 more than they paid last year.  National Grid claims the extra charge, known as the Electricity Supply Reconciliation Mechanism (ESRM), will be added to make up for supposed unbilled costs in March.

The ESRM proposed by National Grid in 2011 was supposed to simplify a households energy bills so that they can better anticipate and evaluate the electricity charge. This system involves a projected supply charge for a month, followed by an adjusted rate the following month, after the actual amount is calculated.

Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to FERC Chairman LaFleur is attached.