Cuomo to initiate probe of NY American Water amid billing outrage

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MERRICK -

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will ask the State Attorney General's Office to investigate New York American Water's billing spikes, and will request a special monitor be appointed to oversee the utility.

The move comes less than 24 hours after South Shore residents grilled American Water executives about their skyrocketing water bills.

New York American Water has received nearly 700 complaints in recent weeks. The company told customers that the sudden jump in water bills is the result of a conservation rate.

MORE: Residents blast water utility over high bills

The utility says it notified customers about the new rate in bill inserts and news releases. Many customers whose bills have doubled, and even tripled, say they were not properly notified about the changes.

“Went up to almost $400 a month…That ain't water, that's gold,” says Peter Muller, of Seaford. “You can't get a tank of oil for the same as that water.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky applauded the governor's efforts.

“At the end of the day, he said this does not smell good to him. It smells rotten that people could have such high bills without people getting proper warning,” says Sen. Kaminsky.

In a separate development, the state Public Service Commission has ordered the water company to refund nearly $293,000 dollars to Sea Cliff customers. A PSC investigation showed the company's "gross mishandling" of its property tax filings. Sen. Kaminsky says he's pushing for a PSC probe on behalf of South Shore residents as well.

Many residents who spoke to News 12 are calling for a public takeover of their water supply.

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