Rockland County leaders to fight utility rate hike

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NEW CITY -

Five Rockland County town leaders said on Tuesday that they disapprove of a rate hike by Orange & Rockland that would raise customers' monthly electric and gas bills by $6 and $4, respectively.

The utility company proposed the rate hike after the new federal tax plan granted it a significant tax cut.

Orange Town Supervisor Chris Day says the company has a county monopoly, and should be investing in its infrastructure, not its investors.

"In the face of these storms, we need to address hardening of our infrastructure," says Day. "I don't see that happening. They're focused more on increasing return and equity to their investors."

Orange & Rockland spokesperson Mike Donovan says the company will use revenue from the rate hike to overhaul the grid. It added that that the Public Service Commission, which oversees all utilities in the state, has already earmarked its tax savings for customers. The company also says that the rate hike would help the company implement new cost-saving technology that would reduce customers' bills over time.

Town leaders say they are sending an attorney to represent Rockland County at public hearings in April. Those hearings will help the Public Service Commission make a decision about Orange & Rockland's proposed rate hike.

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