O&R Utilities announces plan to raise rates

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Orange and Rockland Utilities announced Friday that it intends to raise rates for customers next year.

The utility's 300,000 customers would see their monthly electric and gas bills go up by $6 and $4 dollars, respectively.

O&R's rate request comes just weeks after the new federal tax reform went into effect, cutting the utility company's tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Those savings won't be realized until next year, but O&R's plan has still received criticism from Rockland County Executive Ed Day who called the request "extremely troubling."

Officials for O&R say the Public Service Commission, which regulates the utility industry, has already mandated that corporate tax savings for all utility companies in New York be set aside to benefit customers in a way that the commission will determine. 

O&R officials added that the higher rates are necessary to pay for new energy efficiency technology that it says will mean more savings for its customers over time.

The Public Service Commission says it will closely review O&R's rate request and make a decision before next year's rates are set. 

In the meantime, the commission is also expected to announce later this year its recommendation for how all utility companies in the state should use their federal tax savings to benefit their customers. 

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