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New York utilities to give credits for Sandy disruptions

December 14, 2012 5:04:08 AM PST
Utility customers who lost service during Superstorm Sandy will be getting breaks on their bills.

The New York Public Service Commission on Thursday approved requests from Consolidated Edison, Orange and Rockland Utilities, National Grid and New York State Electric and Gas to give credits for lost days of electric or gas service on customer bills.

The breaks on the service part of the bill will generally range from several dollars for residential customers to several hundred dollars for larger users like businesses, municipalities and lighting districts. They are based on the average number of days of lost service in a given area and will appear soon on bills.

The utilities have also suspended bill collection and credit actions against customers with past-due bills, either through the end of this month or January.

At the peak, New York utilities reported 2.1 million customers without service after Sandy hit on Oct. 29. Some people were without power for weeks.

Con Ed, which reported about 1.1 million customer outages from Sandy and a subsequent nor'easter, will give back $6.5 million to electric and steam customers. Spokesman Allan Drury said the typical residential customer will see $3 in Manhattan and $6 elsewhere. In its filing with the PSC, Con Ed said customers who use its steam system will get credits ranging from $345 to $1,850.

NYSEG will fund $500,000 in electric bill breaks, ranging from $3 to $441. It also told the PSC it waived customer late payment charges totaling about $294,000 for November. The PSC on Thursday ordered utilities to continue waiving late payment charges for affected customers in a 13-county area through the end of January.

Orange and Rockland reported that 85 percent of its customers lost service at some point and it will give credits totaling about $800,000, with the typical residential ratepayer getting $3.

National Grid said 18,700 gas customers on Long Island and in New York City will get credits. Residential users along the shore from Staten Island to Suffolk County will see anywhere from $3 in one part of Queens to $18 in harder-hit Breezy Point. Larger users can expect anywhere from $30 to about $260 based on their locations. The company said it didn't have an estimate of the total value of the credits.

The Long Island Power Authority, which isn't regulated by the PSC, is also considering $7.3 million in service credits and has foregone $3.5 million in late payments. A residential user would see about $5. The LIPA board is scheduled to take up the credits at a meeting on Monday.

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