2011-04-06 / Features

Gianaris Fights Electricity Rate Increase

State Senator Michael Gianaris is fighting the passage of a drastic increase to electricity rates in New York City. He is calling for the federal government to reconsider its decision to increase electricity rates by 12 percent for residents and by 17.5 percent for businesses. Such a rate hike would cause major increases to monthly electricity bills, which could hurt the ability of residents and businesses to pay their expenses. He has sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that they re-evaluate the necessity of this increase.

The 12 percent hike was passed by FERC under the assumption that power companies require another $500 million per year because they pay heavy property taxes in New York City. However, this information is not true as power-generating companies receive major discounts on property taxes in the city, some of which have already been awarded to new power plants that are currently being built.

“Giving power companies a property tax break and then forcing hardworking

New Yorkers to give them even more by increasing electricity bills adds insult to injury,” Gianaris said. “It is difficult enough for working and middle-class New Yorkers to make ends meet without foolish government policies adding to the problem. I implore the members of FERC to take a closer look at the evidence and reverse its decision.”

This hike would be implemented on May 28 of this year and would affect all five boroughs. It is set to remain in place for three years. Community Board No. 1, the Queens Borough Presidents’ Air Monitoring Task Force and the Aviation Advisory Council. She is currently a leading figure in the fight against the controversial natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing or hyrdro-fracking.

“I was very pleased that my Astoria Civic colleagues honored me as their Woman of the Year,” Poveromo said.

The annual ritual of swearing in new board members was performed as well as the installation of the ACA President Paul Halvatzis who was sworn in by Borough President Helen Marshall.

Former Astoria Civic Association President Patricia Babor was recognized with a plaque for her service to the organization.

Dinner and dancing to the music of Risky Business followed the award and member installation ceremonies.

Guests of the event paid a tax -deductible contribution to be used towards scholarship money that will help graduates of local high schools to attend college. Judge Charles Vallone, father of Vallone Sr. and grandfather of Vallone Jr., founded the Astoria Civic Association in 1928 along with a group of concerned local citizens. The association was incorporated by the state of New York in 1933 and Vallone served as its first executive chair. After his death in 1967, his widow, Leah Vallone, founded the scholarship fund in his memory. The Vallone Scholarship Fund has grown to be one of the largest private scholarship funds in New York state.

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