Carlucci’s Column: Utility companies should send us a rebate check

BY STATE SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI

President Trump’s tax law will have many negative effects for New York. It will hurt hardworking taxpayers and help corporate giants. Our utility companies will have their corporate income taxes slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent generating a major windfall at the expense of customers.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently working to determine how the additional money utility companies receive should benefit their customers. In my opinion, the PSC should order that rebate checks be put in the mail.

According to utility consumer advocates, about $5 billion dollars from electric, phone, and water utilities in our state must go back to customers at the discretion of the PSC. Senior officials with Orange and Rockland confirm having to give back about $15 million of that to ratepayers. The money, for example, could go towards a plan to lower customers’ rates in the future. However, a rebate check would be an immediate benefit putting money back in our wallets.

In 1986, President Reagan changed the tax law, reducing the corporate income tax rate from 46 percent to 34 percent, and the courts decided major increases to public utilities should go back to customers by utilities lowering their rates. The hardworking residents of Rockland cannot wait for lower rates in the future, while their electric company is currently seeking a rate hike. A rebate check would instead guarantee them a refund.

The PSC should hold public hearings in Rockland on the utility windfall so ratepayers can have their voices heard. We will continue to watch the PSC’s case, and I will fully advocate for my residents.