SMITHTOWN - PSEG Long Island is making its case for a proposed rate hike during hearings at the Suffolk Legislature offices in Smithtown.

The utility has proposed increasing the average bill next year by $2.85 a month. In 2017, the average bill would add another $2.85 a month and another $3.10 a month in 2018. The total increase would be $8.80 compared to the 2015 rate.

PSEG Long Island says the increases would generate $374 million for much-needed improvements for Long Island's electric system.

The New York State Department of Public Service is expected to continue its evidentiary hearings on the proposed rate hike throughout the week. It will give its final recommendations to the LIPA board in September.

The hearings prompted members of AARP Long Island to protest the proposed increase to their utility bills.