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Long Island, NY - This week, Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages spearheaded a coalition of residents, organizations, and community leaders in calling for ratepayer relief to address the escalating utility prices on Long Island. Joined by the Public Utility Law Project of New York, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, AARP New York, and the Nassau County Working Families Party, Assemblywoman Solages highlighted recent efforts to make rates more affordable and alleviate the financial burden on residents. Additionally, the Assemblywoman stressed her strong opposition to the proposed rate hike by Liberty Water, urging the community to join her in preventing these unnecessary increases that burden residents.
During this legislative session, Assemblywoman Solages successfully passed three crucial pieces of legislation aimed at helping residents cope with their energy bills. The ﬁrst bill, A4956, aims to expedite assistance for households eligible for the Heating Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Under this legislation, eligible households will be able to receive the Emergency Heating Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP) beneﬁt without the requirement of a utility termination notice, ensuring that New Yorkers receive the necessary support quickly.
Recognizing the need to streamline access into the Energy Aﬀordability Program (EAP), Assemblywoman Solages also championed Assembly bill A4876, which mandates automatic enrollment of any New Yorker receiving public assistance into their energy utilities’ low-income, monthly bill discount program. By eliminating barriers to enrollment, this legislation seeks to increase participation and provide even greater relief to those in need.
In addition to ensuring accessibility, Assemblywoman Solages passed legislation A7165, which grants residents and small business utility customers a voice in regulatory proceedings. This legislation empowers ratepayers to actively engage in advocating for lower utility costs and provides them with resources to participate in the decision-making process. Particularly, this mechanism extends to water rate increases, allowing residents served by Liberty Water to have a say in preventing burdensome rate hikes.
Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages stated, "It is imperative that we take swift action to address the escalating utility prices Long Island residents face. Our coalition is dedicated to advocating for aﬀordable rates and providing meaningful relief to our community. Thank you to AARP, PULP, and our coalition partners for their work to get these bills across the ﬁnish line. These legislative victories underscore our commitment to protecting ratepayers' interests and ensuring their voices are heard. Now, it is up to the community to submit public comment and share input as Liberty Water seeks to raise their current rates. We must work together to make it clear that this is untenable for our communities."
“Between PSEG and National Grid, utility customers already owe a collective $141 million in overdue energy bills. It’s clear that Long Islanders cannot aﬀord any other rate increases,” said Laurie Wheelock, Executive Director and Counsel of the Public Utility Law Project of New York (“PULP”). “PULP thanks Assemblymember Solages, as she is a long-standing champion for utility consumers. We stand ﬁrmly with her to advocate for more aﬀordable utility rates across the board. PULP’s especially grateful for the three legislative measures she carried to bolster enrollment in the energy utilities' monthly bill discount programs, make an essential heating season ﬁnancial assistance program more accessible, and foster a more equitable regulatory process whenever a utility requests a rate hike. These bills are now headed to the Governor’s desk and we urge that they be signed into law.”
Lisa Tyson Executive Director Long Island Progressive Coalition stated, “The Long Island Progressive Coalition strongly opposes the Liberty Rate Increase. Long Islanders are struggling to pay their high cost of utilities. Whether its Liberty, National Grid or PSEG. Corporate greed is what's behind these rate and cost increases. Enough is enough!”
Nia Adams, Member/Organizer, Working Families Party of Nassau County, “Water is essential for public health & well-being - and it should be made accessible for all. The rising rates of utilities is egregious. We denounce the increases made by Liberty Rate and any other corporation or entity seeking to extract, deplete, & exploit the people of Long Island.”