Claudia Borecky, Co-Director                                                 Dave Denenberg, Co-Director
claudia@licaws.org                                                                                    dave@licaws.org
516-972-6988                                                                                                   516-330-9930


 

PRESS RELEASE
 
The Public Service Commission Grants
LI Clean Air Water and Soil's and
North and Central Merrick Civic Association's
Request for an Additional Public Hearing


We are pleased to announce that in its August 8, 2016 letter, the NYS Public Service Commission ("PSC") granted LI Clean Air Water and Soil's ("CAWS") and the North and Central Merrick Civic Association's ("NCMCA") July 13, 2016 requests for an additional public hearing to give people an opportunity to voice their concerns regarding New York American Water's ("American Water") proposal to raise their rates 8.1%.
Nearly  in opposition to the rate hike on the PSC website and requested additional hearings. We were successful - the PSC granted our requests.
"The last time our water company proposed a rate hike, I, as former county legislator, and other officials demanded a September hearing date and provided our constituency with several weeks notice of the public hearing. Over 1000 people attended that hearing and we demanded public water," said CAWS Co-Director Dave Denenberg. "Holding a hearing in the middle of the summer with insufficient notice was not in the best interest of the public, nor is allowing this private water monopoly to have another rate hike on a public necessity, water. We are pleased the PSC granted our request and will schedule another hearing."
This proposed rate hike is exacerbated by the Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay disbanding the water authority earlier this year.
"If we had public water, this wouldn't even be an issue," claimed Claudia Borecky, President of NCMCA.  "A town or water district is subject to a state tax cap. A private company is not. We are also requesting time to prepare our case on behalf of the rate payers."
Unfortunately, none of our elected officials notified us of the first hearing or requested a second hearing.  Recent mailers at the public expense provided the public with incomplete and incorrect information. Specifically:
(a)    No elected officials requested an extension of the public comment period or an additional hearing.
(b)   There is not now, nor has there ever been an August 27 deadline. We are pleased that PSC Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess clarified in her ruling that "comments will be accepted throughout the pendency of the proceeding and considered by the Commission in making its final determination in the proceeding."
(c)  We urge the public to comment on this proposed rate hike by any one or all of the following methods. It will help fight this rate hike:
  1. Email Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess at Secretary@dps.ny.gov (The mailer had wrong email address)
  2. Comment online: http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Comments/PublicComments.aspx?MatterCaseNo=16-W-0259
  3.  Opinion line: 1-800-335-2120 - Calls can be made 24 hrs. per day. Press "1" to leave  a comment.  Comments made on the Opinion Line will not be transcribed, but a  summary is provided to the Commission for their consideration.
  4.  Comment and submit collaborating documentation by mail to: Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess,  Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350.
If you have problems with American Water's high water bills, service, pressure or quality of your water, please let the PSC know about it and email either Dave Denenberg or Claudia Borecky with the details.  Any way you can help us help you is appreciated.

As parties in opposition to these proceedings, in its July 13, 2016 letter and August 5, 2016 motion, CAWS asked to extend the discovery, briefing and evidentiary submission period so that it can prepare a case to fight, not only this rate hike, but the very constitutionality of a municipality denying some of its residents with water - a public necessity that it provides other residents. 

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