New York, NY – Con Ed again charged the highest residential rates of any major utility in the 48 contiguous states in 2008, federal numbers released yesterday show. Only folks in Alaska, Hawaii, Fishers Island, NY, Block Island, RI, and some tiny islands off Maine paid more.
At an average 24.18 cents per kilowatt hour, Con Ed’s 2.3 million residential customers saw their electric bills jump by 12 percent over 2007. The sky-high rates meant a Con Ed customer who used 300 kilowatt hours of electricity per month in 2008 had an average monthly bill of $72.50.
People in Monroe City, Mo., or Yadkin, NC — paying the average US residential price of 11.26 cents per kilowatt hour — shelled out $33.78 for the same amount of power.
“Many costs are higher in New York than in other parts of the country,” Con Ed said in a statement.
The utility said blame for the high bills extends far beyond the company. High state and local taxes are a big culprit, amounting to about 26.5 percent of a typical residential customer’s bill, Con Ed says.
Another cause may be management of the state’s electric grid.
Right under grid bosses’ noses, energy traders took state electric rate payers for between $240 million and $415 million in early 2008 — a big hunk of which came from Con Ed customers’ pockets.
And critics of grid bosses say the auction system under which wholesale electricity is sold is set up to skew prices higher.
The state Public Service Commission promised lower rates when it deregulated electricity a decade ago. Instead, Con Ed’s prices have increased compared to the national average. In 1999, Con Ed’s residential prices were 94.5 percent higher than the national average. In no year since 2000 have Con Ed customers paid less than double the US average residential price, the government numbers show.