The state’s Green New Deal-inspired plan will see New Yorkers paying “hundreds of billions of dollars” in higher electric bills, according to a senior energy regulator who accused lawmakers of hiding the true cost of the bill.
John Howard, former chairman and current member of the state Public Service Commission, claimed former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democrat-led legislature never shared the costs related to the 2019 Climate Governance and Community Protection Act with the public equated.
Howard said during a PSC meeting on Thursday that local pols had “completely concealed” the cost of the plan because sticker shock would have made the initiative unpopular.
The law, which Cuomo signed in a ceremony with Al Gore at his side, commits New York to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 by shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like hydroelectric power transfers sun and wind. Meanwhile, the state climate protection council is tasked with developing a plan to put the state on the path to zero CO2 emissions.
Lawmakers, Howard said, refused to directly vote for a tax increase to pay for the capital investments needed to develop clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels – leaving the PSC to be the scapegoat.
The commission – which regulates utilities – has been tasked with approving tariff increases to fund the capital investments needed to comply with the new Green Deal-inspired law.
Con Edison and other utilities will pass these costs on to customers.
“I hope my colleagues on this commission understand that the responsibility lies solely with us — in the hundreds, not a couple — but in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” Howard said during last week’s PSC meeting Week.
“The legislature, either through its silence or total lack of action, has given this commission almost exclusive responsibility for reaching into New Yorkers’ pockets to pay for CLCPA mandates,” he said.
Howard also warned that the unfunded mandate comes at a time when “our entire state economy is shaky…the economy upstate is shakier.”
Other PSC members — former state senators David Valesky and John Maggiore — also warned against relying solely on utility rate hikes to pay for New York’s Green New Deal.
“The costs of converting the country to green electricity far exceed the financing options [solely] through utility bills,” Maggiore said.
Advisors to Gov. Kathy Hochul and a key lawmaker who helped draft the green energy bill have called Howard an alarmist.
“It is wrong and irresponsible to suggest that New York’s ratepayers will foot the entire cost of our state’s clean energy transition,” said a spokesman for the Climate Action Council co-chairs, State Department of Environmental Commissioner Basil Seggos and Doreen Harris, CEO of the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority.
“There is no disputing that the cost of inaction is more than $100 billion more than the cost of investing in a clean energy future,” the spokesman added.
“That’s why the efforts of the Climate Action Council are critical now, not only to keep energy costs down, but to increase job opportunities, estimated at 200,000 jobs by 2030, and improve the health of New Yorkers.”
Rep. Steven Englebright (D-Suffolk), a CLCPA co-author, said Howard was a scaremonger.
“It sounds like he’s a bit of a scaremonger. He has a view that is biased towards the status quo. The status quo is costing us billions of dollars,” said Englebright, the state assembly’s environmental protection chair.
He pointed out that, for example, more frequent violent storms fueled by climate change are causing massive damage to both the interior and coastal areas of the state.
Hochul recently sided with green New Deal booster Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by killing two carbon-burning natural gas projects in Queens and Newburgh state. But the governor has been criticized by union coalitions for pushing to ban the use of gas in new construction.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/15/green-new-deal-plan-will-cost-nyers-hundreds-of-billions-official/ ‘Green New Deal’ plan will cost New Yorkers ‘hundreds of billions’: official