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Zack Hutchins
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November 8, 2000

Council will likely comment on energy-fee proposal; members' input sought

The Council will likely offer formal comments on the state's proposal to expand programs designed to reduce energy consumption funded by increased charges on energy users.

The Council has again asked members for reactions to the proposal. This week, The Council wrote to members, including members of its energy, manufacturing, and small business committees, seeking their reactions to the proposal by the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to increase and extend the "systems benefit charge" (SBC) already added to energy bills.

Based on early feedback from members, The Council's comments are likely to focus on three concerns about the proposal: the length of the extension, the size of the increase in the fee, and the fact that the charge apparently would apply to all ratepayers in all cases.

Under the current SBC, some energy purchases by nonresidential customers are exempt from the charge. The Council has asked the PSC to clarify what ratepayers would be charged the energy fee under its plan.

The current charge is due to expire next June. The PSC has proposed extending it for five years and increasing it by 78 percent under a proposal. The fee now raises about $78 million a year; under the new proposal it would add $139 million a year to energy costs. This would boost most business's electric bills by between 0.08 and 0.142 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The Council plans to give written comments to the PSC this month.

To read The Business Council's briefing on the state's proposal, visit www.bcnys.org/inside/energy/SBC.htm.