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Activists and Concerned Citizens SAY NO to Con Ed’s Request to Raise Customers’ Monthly Utility Bill

On Friday, March 16, advocates, activists and concerned citizens from Peekskill and surrounding communities, along with elected officials, gathered at the Con Edison Gate Station construction site in Buchanan to protest the request from Con Ed to raise customer’s monthly utility bills and to call upon Governor Hochul and the Assembly to pass the NY Heat Act.(New York Home Energy Affordable Transition) in their budget. Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg, representing Peekskill and the 35th Assembly District, and who chairs the NYS Environmental Committee, was among the speakers who spoke passionately about plans by Con Edison for gas expansion. County Legislator Catherine Borgia stated that the Westchester County Board of Legislators is in full support of the State Assembly’s position and back the action being taken.

The group also is urging the Governor and the Assembly to prioritize all-electric buildings in their final budgets. The NY Heat Act ensures that New York State will be able to meet the crucial climate justice and greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates set forth in the Climate Leadership[ and Community Protection Act for buildings without subjecting New Yorkers with the bill for misguided expansion of the gas system. Speakers included Claire Wixtel, who organized the rally, Assemblywoman Dana Levinberg, Legislator Borgia, Chandu Visweswatiah and Suzie Ross, who are both homeowners who have converted to the heat pump system, Rob Feuer, owner of Geothermal Works, Larry Nissman, Environmental Director at Phoenix NY, Veekas Ashoka of the Sunrise Movement, Peekskill resident, activist and former city councilwoman Vanessa Agudelo, and Tina Bongar, a Peekskill resident and activist..

The advocates stressed that homeowners know that rebates are available for the conversion from oil and demand that this benefit be put back on the table. .They also urged reducing extension of the gas lines and creating a greener Westchester. There would be a $58.00 rate hike every month if the Public Service Commissioner approves the plan proposed by Con Ed.

Chandu Visweswatiah, a 30-year resident of Croton-on-Hudson, emphasized the benefits of conversion to the heat pump, citing that the heat pump is four times more efficient than any furnace, saving money every month; the system is more comfortable and reliable; the system can be retrofit for older homes; and rebates are available to homeowners for the conversion. The heat pumps provide for a more efficient heating and cooling system. Rob Feuer of Geothermal Works stated that acres of trees would be saved by reducing extension of the gas lines, thereby creating a cleaner Westchester.


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