October 26th Gas Bill Increase Public Hearings in Buffalo

We found out this year that National Fuel Gas would like to raise gas rates for customers in the Buffalo area to help pay for infrastructure improvements, like new and expanded gas distribution lines. As an organization, we recognize the urgent threat posed by climate change and the fight for 100% solutions, like solar and energy efficiency, that benefit 100% of people. We must shift our dependence away from dangerous and dirty fossil fuel energy sources in order to achieve a sustainable future. Massive investments in natural gas are not friendly to our environment, and are not affordable. Last April, National Fuel put in a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), the group that regulates gas and electric companies in New York State, to raise rates by 8% for the average customer. However, those customers who use more gas, which largely includes poorer and lower income customers, will likely see an increase of more than 20% in their gas bills. That’s a lot of money!

We gathered a few months ago at a rate hike hearing in the Town of Amherst to request that the PSC have hearings in some of the lower income parts of the area, like Buffalo, so that everyone across race and class can have a say in something that will affect their ability to survive. We are excited to announce that the PSC has granted residents of Buffalo (2) public hearings. They both happen on Wednesday, October 26th at 3pm, and at 6pm. This gives people who have to work or other family obligations an opportunity to tell their high gas bill and energy bill stories. There will be a press event and rally happening at 6pm that day outside National Fuel Gas' downtown Buffalo offices located at 409 Main St (about 1 block down from the library auditorium). Before these hearings take place, we will have a storytelling session on Tuesday October 25th, from 6pm-8pm to help prepare people to tell their personal stories about paying high gas bills, and trying to survive in front of the PSC on October 26th. We are still gathering upwards of 1,000 signatures or more to present to the PSC. If you’d like to sign-on or get involved, please contact our PUSH Organizing team at 716-884-0356, to arrange to sign a petition card, or get others to sign today. You can also email comments directly to Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at secretary@dps.ny.gov or by calling 1-800-335-2120.