Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
June 17, 2016
Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645
Rockland County Executive Ed Day says "no" to water rate increase
Rockland County Executive Ed Day added his voice to the chorus of Rockland residents outraged over a request from Suez New York to raise water rates more than 18 percent.
Much of the increase would go to pay for costs related to a failed and ill-advised plan to build a desalination plant in Haverstraw.
"An 18.7 percent rate hike is an unconscionable request," Day said at a public hearing Thursday at Rockland Community College.
Suez is asking the Public Service Commission to require Rockland rate payers to pay $54 million to reimburse the company for costs associated with the desalination plant, which was never built.
Suez wants Rockland customers to pay the costs over 20 years. The total cost to rate payers would be $110 million. Water bills could go up nearly $100 a year for property owners.
"Suez should not be allowed to recover these costs nor make a profit by tacking on 20 years of interest on to the cost of their failed plan," he said.
Day said the Public Service Commission share blame for the astronomical costs associated with the failed project.
"Ratepayers trusted the PSC to provide oversight – but they didn't," he said. "The PSC was negligent. It was like the fox watching the henhouse."
If the PSC wants to allow Suez to recoup these costs, then the PSC should go to Albany to ask for a state appropriation – not hit taxpayers, Day said.
Day said that Rockland County will submit written testimony detailing Rockland's opposition to the proposed rate hike by July 1 to the administrative law judge hearing the case.