DPS: PSEG LI should reduce rate hike proposal

For the average electric customer, the increase is about $4.30 a month, up from its current $1.69.

For the average electric customer, the increase is about $4.30 a month, up from its current $1.69. (9/29/15)

WOODBURY - The state's Department of Public Service says PSEG Long Island should reduce its three-year rate hike proposal.

The department says the utility should shoot for a total of $325 million in hikes, as opposed to the $441 million PSEG LI is proposing.

The DPS has recommended allowing PSEG Long Island to raise customer rates by .8 percent next year, and 2.1 percent in both 2017 and 18. That's 26 percent less than what the utility wants.

Suffolk's Utility Oversight Committee head Sheldon Sackstein says the DPS recommendation will most likely not stand. He says the state has little power when it comes to regulating PSEG Long Island. Sackstein blames the lack of influence on flaws in the agreement made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring PSEG to Long Island.

"What we're saying is stop the process right now...and let's look at the whole process from the beginning and understand it better," says Sackstein.

PSEG Long Island tells News 12 that it needs the higher rates to provide what it calls "top tier" electric service to Long Island.

The LIPA Board of Trustees will have the final say on rate increases. It will discuss the state's recommendations at its next meeting on Oct. 19.

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