Like it or not, Greenport Village electric customers can expect to see their bills increase starting this month, according to a letter mailed to residents last week.
While base rates will remain the same, users will pay an additional fee to cover an increase over the current contract in the village’s new long-term transmission agreement with the New York Power Authority, which transmits hydropower generated in Niagara Falls to the village.
Starting this month residents will see their bill increase between $7.75 and $10.69 per month. Businesses will see an increase between $25.12 and $37.77 per month, according to the letter.
The increased fees will be used to cover a hike in the 28-month agreement the village signed with NYPA in January, a deal the mayor said will stabilize rates for the foreseeable future.
“We believe that long term is the best way to go,” Mr. Nyce said at Monday’s work session. “It will take out that fluctuation that happens in the summer months.”
Critics of the administration blasted the rate hikes in emails to the village and local media this week. William Swiskey, a retired village utilities director and former trustee, questioned why the village is only telling residents about the increase now.
“I don’t remember any discussion at any public meeting on what amounts to a 10 to 15 percent electric rate increase for the average residential customer,” Mr. Swiskey wrote. “I would urge the board to delay proceeding … until it has been noticed properly, a public hearing held and a reasonable explanation given to the public on why this is happening.”
Mr. Swiskey said he later filed a complaint with NYPA, likening the village’s move to an “unapproved electric rate hike.”
The current agreement with NYPA expires at the end of October, according to the letter. Mr. Nyce said the village will continue to explore other options in an attempt to ease the burden on customers.