RG&E files plan to hold customer rates steady through 2002


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 18, 2002 — Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. has filed a plan with the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) that would freeze rates through the remainder of 2002.

It is RG&E’s intent to seek approval to begin a multi-year rate plan in January of next year that would maintain the reliability of the energy system, offer continued rate stability and accelerate the schedule for enhancing customer choice — with the end result that RG&E rates would remain among the lowest in New York State.

“For the last six years, RG&E has been able to manage and, in fact, reduce electrical and natural gas prices in a challenging economy and in a time when other major costs have risen,” said Thomas S. Richards, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “This new proposal aims to give our customers more choices in electricity supply and continued reliable energy at fair and reasonable cost with the help of our merger with Energy East and the continued ownership of generation.”

A December 2001 study by the Center for Governmental Research determined that — in the same 1996-2001 period in which RG&E residential electric rates declined 10 percent and residential natural gas costs declined 1 percent — health-care costs rose 58 percent, food costs increased 14 percent, home prices were up 8 percent and manufacturing wages rose 15 percent.

RG&E’s current electric and natural gas agreements expire on June 30, 2002. The filing on Friday, February 15, ensures that new rates will be in effect in January 2003.

While reducing rates the last several years, RG&E’s costs have, like everyone else’s, increased. For example, it has invested nearly $550 million since 1996 in maintaining and improving its natural gas and electric facilities. The cost of supplemental, purchased energy has increased substantially, and additional costs have been incurred for employee wages and salaries and health-insurance benefits.

RG&E’s intent is to begin a five-year rate plan in January 2003 that would maintain energy-system reliability, provide continued rate stability and accelerate the schedule for enhancing customer choice, with the end result that RG&E rates would remain among the lowest in New York State. RG&E did include in its filing on Friday a one-year traditional case establishing new, increased electric and gas rates for the rate year July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003 — but RG&E firmly believes it is in the best interest of its customers to mitigate its increased costs of doing business over a five-year period rather than in this traditional one-year case.
The filing is available on the company’s website, http://www.rge.com.

Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. is a subsidiary of RGS Energy Group, and supplies regulated electric and gas service within a 2,700-square-mile service territory with a population of approximately one million people in the Greater Rochester, New York, metro region.


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