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Con Edison Announces Rate Hike Taking Effect Immediately

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- First, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced fare hikes, and now, New Yorkers will have to pay more for electricity.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Con Edison on Thursday disclosed a fare hike that takes effect immediately and will appear on February bills. Kramer searched for answers Thursday on where the money is going.

Con Edison workers painstakingly set up cones, barricades and a "men working in the street" sign in Astoria, Queens on Thursday. Meanwhile, local residents were furiously attacking the utility's latest attempt to raid their pocketbooks.

"Whenever something breaks down, the electricity, you call them up – it takes days for them to come and fix it," said Joe Sanchez of Astoria. "So why should we pay more?"

"Con Ed makes billions, and it's always us that are the losers," said Steven Sofsky of Astoria.

"Poor people working for nothing," another resident said.

"Crazy, unbelievable, out of control," a fourth said.

Nevertheless, the New York State Public Service Commission said Con Ed may raise its rates every year for the next three years for both electricity and gas.

That is $1 billion for Con Ed's 4.6 million gas and electric customers in New York City and Westchester County.

Over the next three years, the average apartment dweller will see their electric bill rise from $78.52 to $84.20. Homeowners will see an average hike from $109.64 to $118.30.

Gas bills will go from $26 to $32.42 if you cook with gas, and from $142.31 to $157.16 if you heat with gas.

The PSC said it approved the hike "largely for increased property taxes, new infrastructure investments, higher depreciation expenses and increased operating expenses."

Kramer asked Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin why the utility needs more money.

"The infrastructure in New York is in constant need of repair. It is expensive. New York City and the surrounding area is a very congested, dense area. Every time you dig in the street, there's a lot of money involved," Clendenin said. "If we were to replace one foot of that gas line, it would be $2,000."

The rate hike is just to pay Con Ed for delivering the gas and electric. Prices of the actual power will also rise and fall with the marketplace.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city helped convince the Public Service Commission to reduce hikes for low-income New Yorkers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls, the PSC, did not get back to CBS2.

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