ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — We all know the hefty fees associated with utility costs. Members of the state assembly held a hearing Tuesday, gathering feedback from experts on ways they can reduce those costs, especially as New York makes strides towards a greener future.
There are six major utility companies in New York, all charging different fees that are expected to rise. “About 2 million New Yorkers are paying over 10% of their income on energy, even though the goal even now is six percent, so we have to make those investments to get that down further,” said Assemblywoman and sponsor of the bill, Pat Fahy. The New York Heat Act would cap utility costs for low or moderate income New Yorkers to six percent of their income. A goal that’s backed by the Public Service Commission. That bill passed in the Senate this past session, but not the Assembly.
Liz Moran, NY policy advocate with Earth Justice told Capitol Correspondent Amal Tlaige, every day New Yorkers are paying the most into the system even though they’re not the biggest users. “The biggest users are often heavy industry and so on. But we’re paying the most for this system. So NY Heat gets at that by capping utility bills while also getting rid of some of the really costly subsidies that are keeping New Yorkers on the gas system right now,” she said. Moran said for those looking to move away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy, the NY heat act will ensure they don’t get overly burdened by energy costs, “So this is an important tool in creating equity across the state, as we get away from fossil fuels, heating and powering our homes.”
There are programs New Yorkers can look into to reduce utility costs however Moran says the state can do much more. “We need to see the state ramp-up efforts to provide funding, to ensure that people can transition away from dirty and polluting frack gas systems in their homes while also ensuring they can afford to make their homes more energy efficient,” said Moran. The Assembly Committee on Energy will have an additional hearing to discuss utility costs.