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Advocates say PSC directive on home energy aid will help

May 24, 2016 6:15 am

William J. Kemble is reporting in the Daily Freeman advocates for low-income residents say a state Public Service Commission directive to change energy-assistance programs will help reduce the number of gas and electric shut-offs, but more is needed to make a significant impact. The commission’s order requires utilities to provide $248 million toward rate reductions, more than double their current contribution of $136 million. Under the new requirement, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.’s portion of the subsidy will increase from $4.2 million to $12.1 million. The requirement gives eligible customers anywhere between $23 and $72 off their electric bills and between $34 and $67 off their gas bills. Current discounts for these customers are fixed at $18 each for gas and electric bills. Spencer Resnick, an organizer for Energy Democracy Alliance member group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, said the order is a victory of sorts, but noted the crisis has not been resolved. He said the voices and input of working-class communities must be central to any solution. Resnick said, "This is the first in a string of decisions that impact our members, and we expect the commission to continue to engage them.” Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.