Con Edison and the state have accelerated talks about cutting a deal in the company’s request for a rate boost.
In letter dated Friday and made public on Monday afternoon, the Public Service Commission’s chief administrative law judge appointed another judge, Kim Harriman, to oversee settlement talks.
That the PSC and Con Ed have been talking settlement is no surprise — the talks were disclosed in case documents in May. The negotiations have been on “hiatus” while the parties presented arguments for and against Con Ed’s request for a rate hike.
Con Ed and those arrayed against a rate hike seem far apart. Con Ed hopes to boost electric bills around 4 percent and gas bills around 1.5 percent. But the PSC staff has advised the five members of the commission that Con Ed residential electric bills should be cut by about 1.7 percent, and residential gas bills should be slashed about 6.7 percent.
The letter naming Harriman as a settlement judge cites a “short period of time that now remains for negotiations.” Because the talks are confidential, it’s hard to tell why Con Edison and the state are talking again in the late stages of the case. But it may be significant that Judge Harriman’s appointment came days after Gov. Cuomo pushed back against the company’s rate hike request.
Here is my earlier post about the possibility of a settlement in the case.