NYC restaurants slammed by skyrocketing power bills

New York City restaurant owners say they have been left shocked by recent Con Edison bills, as costs have skyrocketed as much as 300 percent without warning.

Massimo Laveglia owns L’Industrie Pizzeria in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In December his Con Edison bill was about $2,200 hundred dollars. Last month, jumped to more than $4,600 without any warning.

"For us it was just crazy!" Laveglia said. "I was upset because a company like Con Ed should be able to figure it out in advance and the price of the rate and tell the customer."

In Woodside, Queens, the owner of The Brewery Bar & Kitchen says his bill last month was 313 percent higher than in January 2020, in an industry that has been crippled by the pandemic.

"It's another blow.  It's like another nail in our coffin," said restaurant owner Padraic Sheridan.

ConEd has said it is not to blame because the utility does not generate electricity and cannot control suppliers' costs.  However, the company is reviewing its procedures "… including our energy-buying practices, the tools we use to reduce supply price volatility, the way we communicate changes in supply prices, and our programs to help customers who have fallen behind on their bills."

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"It's absolutely ludicrous in our current crisis to do this to the consumers," said New York State Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, who represents Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

However, Gallagher says the bigger issue is that New York state is not allowed to produce its own energy which she says must change, and it would lead to lower utility bills.

"We really need to see this for what it is which is a broken energy system that we can actually fix within our state," Sheridan said.

"We're all running in the red right now on a weekly basis. It's how long can we continue like this."