We continue to be amazed at the poor communication between the Village of Greenport and its residents regarding increases in customers’ electric bills.
First, in August, the village sent letters to ratepayers explaining that their balance would increase by between $7.75 and $10.69 per month due to a new agreement with the New York Power Authority.
Details about the contract and the increase were scarce, and very little discussion occurred in public session.
This time around, the village didn’t even bother to send out the letter, leaving customers astonished when they received bills this month on which the purchased power adjustment charges (the same line impacted in August) had doubled from the month before.
Customers we’ve spoken with who showed us copies of their electric bills said they’ve had a hard time getting a straight answer from the village explaining the increase.
So have we.
“There was an additional Independent Service Operator charge that happened this month and those additional fees are being passed on,” is essentially all the mayor has said about the issue, which was not even raised at Monday’s Village Board work session.
When we asked for clarification on what exactly that means or why it was not communicated to the public, the mayor had nothing else to say.
The village clerk, treasurer and outgoing administrator all seemed more interested in pointing a finger at their colleagues than giving an actual explanation. Maybe that’s because they don’t know the answer.
We hope this blasé attitude toward transparent government isn’t what residents of Greenport can expect from the lame duck mayor as he serves out the final 15 months of his tenure.
He was elected to do a job, and sharing essential information with his constituents is a critical part of it.
The Village of Greenport will be testing the switchgears at its electric plant next week, leading to service interruptions in the village.
Residential testing is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 18 and testing in the commercial and business district will be conducted early in the morning on Dec. 19, during non-peak hours.
The service interruptions will last approximately 30 minutes each day, village officials said. At the end of testing of the individual feeder breakers, the main breaker will be tested, which will result in a brief loss of power Village-wide.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the Utilities Department at: 631-477-0248, ext. 214
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.
Greenport Village officials announced today downtown residents and business owners will experience a power outage tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
Village utility workers will be making emergency repairs to Greenport Electric’s two feeder lines that service the main business district and the area surrounding Eastern Long Island Hospital. No other details about the potentially affected locations were immediately available.
Village officials estimate the power outage will last between one to three hours.