Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, today took the New York Power Authority to task for proceeding with rate hikes on customers.
"NYPA's decision to raise rates is outrageous," he said. "Just last year, NYPA had $544 million on hand to bail out Albany's dysfunction budget, and now they are looking to replace that money by raising rates on the backs of hardworking ratepayers."
NYPA had previously proposed rate hikes in early September, with hearings taking place across New York state. Ceretto attended the hearing at the Power Vista and spoke out strongly against the proposal, along with Niagara County Legislature Chairman William Ross and Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble.
"Until New York state can pay its bills without sweeping money out of NYPA, and until NYPA has exhausted every single cost saving measure, not another cent should be asked of its customers," Ceretto said. "When does it end? How do we know they won't be back in 2014 or sooner for more? It's time to put a stop to this and force change to come internally. We hear stories of lavish parties for board members totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars - what other waste is there?"
"Furthermore, this rate hike comes with no Niagara County voice on the board of trustees. The Niagara Power Project provides a significant amount of revenue for the NYPA system, yet we do not have a vote," Ceretto added. "Niagara County needs and deserves representation on that board, as we are being taken advantage of."
Ceretto has been a consistent advocate for local representation on the NYPA board in order to ensure that Western New York's residents and job creators receive their fair share of low-cost energy. As a Niagara County legislator, Ceretto sponsored bipartisan measures to mandate local representation on NYPA.
Earlier this year, Ceretto circulated his "Empower Niagara" petition with State Sen. George Maziarz to demonstrate the widespread support amongst Niagara County residents for representation on the NYPA board. The petitions will be delivered to Gov. Cuomo next month.
"For too long, downstate influences and Albany politicians have squandered our region's resource," Ceretto said. "Niagara County deserves better. We need local representation on the NYPA board of trustees that will give us greater control over our energy and economic futures, and put an end to these continual rate increases."