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New Year Means Higher Energy Bills For Displeased PSEG Long Island Customers

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A new year meant a new round of bills, as folks on Long Island began seeing higher charges on their electric statements.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, for the average PSEG Long Island ratepayer, 2017 is starting out with sticker shock in the monthly bill. Each customer saw a near 5 percent increase, double what authorities had announced just two weeks ago.

PSEG Long Island said the monthly increase would have been higher if not for the power company's own efforts. A spokesman told CBS2 that "thanks to sound fiscal management, an average customer's bill will be slightly more in 2017 than 2016, largely attributable to an increase in the cost of the fuels used to generate the power."

But skeptical consumers wonder why PSEG Long Island is asking them to pay more on new predictions that natural gas prices will rise, when they see relatively stable energy prices every day at the gasoline pump.

"The fuel service -- I thought the cost of fuel was down tremendously from where it was. I guess not," said Dave Gordon of Plainview, Nassau County. "It never surprises us on Long Island. We're used to rate hikes"

PSEG Long Island touted that because of efficiencies, some of its numerous monthly charges will actually decline, but home owners trying to stay afloat in one of the nation's most expensive places to live say they've had enough.

"Long Island is expensive," said Jennifer Bergmann-Melville of Suffolk County. "I'm kind of tired of it how much are they going to do to us already. It's out of control already -- it is."

Bergmann owns a Melville real estate company. She thinks the utility should cut some of its highly paid staff, and dismisses claims fuel costs are surging.

"I don't buy it," she said.

"What are we going to do?" added Gordon. "It's not like there's another game in town, is there?"

PSEG Long Island said its revenues are put back into customer service, adding the utility invested more than a half billion dollars in system upgrades just last year.

PSEG keeps the lights on for more than one million homes on Long Island alone.

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