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Con Ed proposes major steam, electric hikes.

Con Ed proposes major steam, electric hikes

The real estate industry is currently facing the prospect of a billion dollar electric rate increase over three years. This comes on top of a pending Con Edison petition for a 25 percent, three--year increase in steam rates. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that political groups intervening in the case, such as the New York City and the Consumer Protection Board, will almost certainly try to shift some of the cost burden from residential voters to the commercial/industrial consumers.

For the last 40 years, the most effective weapon our industry has had against these increases is the Owners Committee on Electric Rates, Inc. OCER's sole purpose is to defend the commercial/industrial real estate community against unfair and improper utility charges. A long record of success dates back to OCER's birth when it persuaded the PSC to "grandfather" submetering and conjunctional billing practices for those who had been previously covered by them. OCER was also the main spokesman in convincing the Commission to lift a prohibition on commercial submetering.

Since those early successes, The Owners Committee has saved the industry literally billions of dollars by participating vigorously in every electric and steam rate case before the Public Service Commission. It was OCER, together with the PSC, which signed agreements with Con Edison providing for the cumulative eight-year moratorium on rate increases that we have been enjoying up to now. During those eight years of "peace",

OCER won several more battles. It afforded the benefit of low cost Hydro-Quebec power to commercial consumers. It jumped in with both feet to prevent Con Edison from passing on to customers all of the costs incurred by a temporary closing of one of the utility's nuclear energy plants. It stepped a little to one side to participate in City water cases, winning substantial savings for the commercial user; this success has already enabled OCER to shave over a million dollars from projected steam rates.

The moratorium is over. Con Edison is hungry. It wants more steam money; it wants more electric money. Through these cases Con Edison aims to "make up" what it considers to be lost ground, and it has submitted testimony from close to fifty witnesses- economists, regulators, accountants, statisticians to support its position.

If the industry is going to defend itself from the prospect of monstrous increases, the least costly and most effective way of doing so is through the combined funds of the entire industry. The costs of litigation are enormous. Not even the largest real estate company has the ready resources to fight alone. OCER is reaching out to the real estate community-at-large to meet this challenge. Without wide support, funds simply will not be available to enable the real estate community to vigorously contest Con Edison's demands.

Joel R. Dichter Associate General Counsel Owners Committee on Electric Rates, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Hagedorn Publication
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mid-Year Review & Forecast Section I; Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc.
Author:Dichter, Joel R.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 26, 1991
Words:480
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