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August 11, 2000

Berkman disputes O & R rate hike.

Middletown, NY - Jeffrey D. Berkman, representing Middletown and Wallkill (20th District), called for immediate action by the Orange County Legislature regarding excessively high utility rate increases of up to 59.4% in "market supply charges."

Berkman submitted a resolution in today's Orange County legislative meeting demanding that the NYS Public Service Commission investigate the oppressive electric rates, demanding that public hearings be scheduled to discuss the negative impact on consumers, small business, and future economic development, and demanding that the electric companies serving Orange County participate with local governments to educate the public about alternative electric choices.

Legislator Berkman stated, "It is outrageous that the people and businesses of Orange County must endure such burdensome increases, while areas serviced by O & R in Pennsylvania and New Jersey do not."

Berkman added, "O & R rates of increase are higher than Central Hudson and NYSEG for the market supply portion of their bills. This is having an extremely negative impact on our families, businesses, and future economic development. It is our obligation to protect the public against these harmful and oppressive charges."

The resolution makes clear that it is certainly within O&R's and the NYS Public Service Commission's power to address this situation and reduce the unfair rates. However, they will not act until the people jointly voice their anger at such treatment.

Berkman further urged, "The people must come together and form coalitions against such actions by any utility. Deregulation is supposed to be a boon to all New Yorkers, including families with fixed income. It should not be allowed to create a windfall for utilities."

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Jeffrey Berkman
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