Repeal Utility Surcharge

Date:

 

 
Repeal Utility Surcharge
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
 
 
Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan coalition of more than 70 business and trade organizations representing a 
growing group of more than 70,000 employers and employing upwards of 1.5 million people, supports 
the adoption of Article VII budget language, which would repeal part NN of Chapter 59 of the Laws of 
2009.
 
The 2009 State Budget amended section 18-a of the Public Service Law to authorizes the state to raise the 
current utility fee from one-third of a percent to 2 percent, a six-fold increase, for most ratepayers. Using 
a “conservative assessment” energy bills have increased by 2-percent over what they would have been. It 
is estimated that for a family, it could cost an additional $200 a year for electricity, for businesses, it will 
cost into the thousands of dollars.
 
Unshackle Upstate urges the prospective repeal of part NN of Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2009. The State 
of New York should be identifying ways to reduce the high cost of energy, not adding to the public’s 
burden. New York State has the third highest energy costs in the country.
 
Recently, the Public Policy Institute issued a study on the high cost of power in New York State. The 
study determined that “fully 26.68 percent of New Yorkers’ electric bills support state and local taxes and 
fees. This equates to an average of $614.48 that each household (single family homes, apartments, co-ops 
and condos) in New York pays in these taxes through their power bill. A family living in a detached 
single-family home shoulders a burden that is almost double. These families pay on average $1,140.38 
per year in state and local energy related taxes, fees and assessments.”
 
Taxes – or “assessments” – on utility services are a larger percentage of the low-income customer’s total 
income. They can be harmful to low-income consumers living on fixed incomes such as social security, 
who even without the added burden of last year’s increased “assessment” often runs out of money before 
their next check, and who now will have even fewer dollars to make ends meet.