NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there will be some relief for New York American Water customers surprised by steep bills this summer.
"Large corporations must understand that they have to follow the rules just like everyone else. I applaud the swift and aggressive action by the Department of Public Service that will result in immediate relief for New York American Water customers, and we will continue to fight to protect families across this state from unfair business practices," the governor said in a statement.
The utility came under fire after implementing a conservation rate that led to skyrocketing water bills on Long Island's South Shore. The rate was approved by the state Public Service Commission last year and raised the cost of water as customers used more.
"To address the company's insufficient notice to customers about new conservation rates that were going into effect for high-usage customers, the company has agreed to suspend the highest rate charged per gallon for high-usage customers for the remainder of the rate year ending March 31, 2019," Cuomo's statement continued. "Customers already billed at the highest rate tier (for consumption over 15,000 gallons per month) will be provided a refund equal to the difference between the highest rate tier 4 and tier 3 rates for their usage over 15,000 gallons per month."
The governor also said the company agreed to expedite customers' filings with the Public Service Commission and bill credits should appear by early 2019.
"While the investigation is ongoing, it's clear the company should have done more to inform their customers of the changes in rate design before the changes took effect so customers could have made informed decisions about their water usage," Public Service Commission Chair John Rhodes said in a statement.
New York American Water previously said it would work diligently to address all concerns.
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