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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

National Grid proposes rate increase for downstate NY

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Monday, November 13, 2023   

National Grid is proposing rate hikes for three New York City boroughs and Long Island.

In Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, the utility company is proposing a 17.2% increase while Long Island customers are expecting a 16.3% increase. National Grid said this rate increase aims to increase energy efficiency and funding renewable energy projects.

Andrew Saavedra, staff attorney for the Public Utility Law Project of New York, described how rate hikes will affect low-income New Yorkers.

"We work with customers every day who are having to deal with, 'Am I going to pay my energy bill? Am I going to pay for my medicine? Am I going to pay for rent? Am I going to pay for my groceries?'" Saavedra pointed out. "All of these prices are increasing, and we have to remain cognizant of the increased costs that we're trying to saddle onto customers."

The increases are part of a statewide trend since Con Edison, New York State Electric and Gas, and Rochester Gas and Electric received rate increases too.

The Sane Energy Project has set up a petition calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to reject the rate increases. Public hearings are being held this week.

New York rate cases take about 11 months before they go into effect, putting the hikes on the calendar for next April.

Laurie Wheelock, executive director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York, said money from the increases might go to cleaning up National Grid's two superfund sites, Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal.

"We are definitely concerned about what those costs look like," Wheelock noted. "Should ratepayers be paying? Should there be like a balance? And maybe the company helping out more with those costs. Things of that nature."

Electricity bills went up 5% in 2022. The U.S. Energy Information Administration finds 2022 saw the largest annual increase in utility spending since it began calculating it in 1984, driven by extreme temperatures and higher fuel costs.


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