FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jen Metzger, (845) 489-0830
On Thursday, November 12, the New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold a public hearing at Kingston High School on major utility and energy reform proposals, beginning with a presentation by PSC staff at 6 pm and followed by public statements for the record at 7 pm. Ulster County-based Citizens for Local Power (CLP) is calling on local residents, businesses, and municipal officials to speak out about issues they are concerned about. “This is the only hearing in our region on the major energy proposals that are before the PSC,” said Jen Metzger, CLP Co-Director. “We urge people to become informed about the reforms on the table and to speak out about the utility and energy issues they care most about.”
The State’s ongoing Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceedings are considering a broad range of issues, from the overall need to reorient New York’s energy system to more locally-based, resilient system that meets the State’s energy goals, to the rules that allow utility shut-offs when customers cannot pay their bills. CLP has posted background materials on its website, www.citizensforlocalpower.com, to help prepare the public and local government officials for the upcoming hearing.
Together with other community-based organizations across the State that have formed the Energy Democracy Alliance to provide input into State proceedings, CLP is calling on the PSC to ensure that changes to utility and energy regulations meet REAL reform criteria--Renewable, Equitable, Accountable, and Local. “Electricity is a basic need that everyone must be able to afford to meet,” said Metzger. “We also want to make sure the utilities do their fair share in efforts to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and support clean, renewable generation.” Electricity generation accounts for about 40% of New York’s carbon emissions, and Governor Cuomo has set a target of producing 50% of the state’s power from renewable sources by 2030—just 15 years from now.
CLP has been advocating for reforms that enable communities and customers to realize the full benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency, including job creation and energy security. The Ulster County-based organization has been in the forefront of efforts to introduce a program called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in New York to empower communities to decide where their energy comes from and how to meet their energy needs, rather than leaving these decisions to the utilities. “We need much greater local control in energy decision-making,” said Metzger, ”but even with CCA, the utilities will continue to own the poles and wires, and we need the Governor to create a Public Advocate office at the state level that will listen to the needs and complaints of ratepayers and act on their behalf. The vast majority of electricity customers are not adequately represented in utility rate cases, and we hope everyone will turn out to tell the PSC that our towns and cities need a strong voice in this essential service.”