Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upstate NY shafted on rail and electric

So apparently New York, the third most populous state in the country, got a mere $151 million out of the Obama administration's $8 billion allocated for rail improvements. Planet Albany wonders if this is due to New York not being a swing state (Obama beat McCain in the state 62-36 pct) or due to the ineffectiveness of the state's Congressional delegation (29 of its 31 members belong to Obama's Democratic Party).

For its part, the Herkimer County Progressive places the blame on the state itself for not investing enough in rail. Presumably, this was seen by the feds as lack of interest in much needed upgrades to the mass transit system in upstate NY.

Lack of reliable public transit is one thing holding back economic development in upstate. Sky-high electricity costs are another. And it's only going to get worse.

The giant power monopoly National Grid wants to raise its electric rates by 20 percent. National Greed already has among the highest power rates in the nation, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

As I've written about several times before, the power monopoly regularly gouges customers with its nebulous "delivery charge." I personally have had several months where the "delivery" for my electricity cost at least twice as much as the actual power itself. Can you imagine if a pizza place charged you an extra $20 to deliver a $10 pizza? But apparently National Greed can get away with it, all with the collaboration of the state's dubiously named Public Service Commission.

At least you can say one thing about National Greed, the monopoly open about their intent. The Post-Standard article said Tom King, president of National Grid in the United States, said the company needs to make higher profits in order to attract money from shareholders.

No comments: