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Lawmakers want it to be easier to pay utility bills

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Senate is moving forward with legislation aimed at making utility bills more manageable for many New Yorkers, following a review of recent utility price surges by the Senate Investigations Committee.

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The proposed bills aim to clarify rate determinations, protect ratepayers, and hold utility companies accountable, according to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The legislations also target expanding payment plan options to help alleviate the economic burden on New York families.

Included in the package are measures mandating utilities to provide a clear procedure for calculating estimated utility bills to the Public Service Commission (PSC), use more actual meter readings, and comply better with regulations.

The Senate has also approved a bill to establish minimum standards for payment plans for eligible customers, necessitating PSC to create guidelines for these plans. Another major focus is to tackle incidents where utilities have deceived ratepayers, with proposals to impose hefty fines on utility companies that have lied to or misled their customers. State Senator James Skoufis emphasized the necessity for these consumer protections amid escalating rate hikes and a perceived lack of corporate accountability.