When you’re trying to go from poverty/below poverty to actually having some things, you’re going to need all the help and resources you can get. Can you afford rent, food, stuff for the little ones, transportation, education, day care, all the rest of your bills, and still be able to survive? One of the issues we’ve been working on, besides quality affordable housing is energy. It's not enough to have an affordable place to live in Buffalo. With this city’s historically cold winters you’ll need a warm place to live as well. The problem, as we’ve found out through our work, is that the gas bills are just too damn high!
Our first energy campaign was with #NationalFuelGas, the local supplier/distributor of residential natural gas heating services in Western New York. We found out about 6 years ago that National Fuel was mis-handling millions of dollars of public money meant for low-income weatherization. A campaign was born, money was moved from a furnace rebate program that benefited wealthier customers to a low- income weatherization program, and PUSH Green came on-line to connect residents to energy efficiency services and green jobs.
We found out this year that National Fuel would like to raise gas rates for customers to help pay for infrastructure improvements, like new and expanded gas distribution lines. As an organization, we recognize the urgent threat posed by climate change and fight for 100% solutions, like solar and energy efficiency, that benefit 100% of people. We must shift our dependence away from dangerous and dirty fossil fuel energy sources in order to achieve a sustainable future. Massive investments in natural gas are not sustainable. Last April, National Fuel put in a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), the group that regulates gas and electric companies in New York State, to raise rates by 8% for the average customer. This means that we (the consumers) could see an increase in our gas bills. We gathered a few months ago at a rate hike hearing in the Town of Amherst to request that the PSC have hearings in some of the lower income parts of the area, like Buffalo, so that everyone across race and class can have a say in something that will affect their ability to survive. Currently we are gathering upwards of 1,000 signatures or more to make sure that these rate hike hearings happen in poorer parts of Buffalo.
We're gathering signatures to make sure we get a hearing for lower income people in Erie County, and put a stop to this rate increase. We need you to get involved. You can send comments via website, email, or over the phone. See below for detailed instructions.
Via the Department’s Website:
Comments may also be entered directly into the case number page via the Commission’s website, linked here. Enter comments in the “Post Comments” section located at the top of the page. •
Submit comments electronically to Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail or delivery to Secretary Burgess at the Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223- 1350. Comments delivered in these manners should reference “National Fuel Distribution Corp. Rate Case” (16-G-0257).
Via Toll-Free Opinion Line:
Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission’s toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24-hours a day. Callers should press “1” to leave comments about Case 16-G-0257 “National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp.” Comments received via the Opinion Line are not transcribed, but a summary is provided to the Commission for their consideration.
Posted on Tue, September 20, 2016
by PUSH Buffalo