NEW YORK — When New Yorkers burn the midnight oil, they're burning the best. And they're paying for it.
Energy User News reported Monday that Consolidated Edison, the utility serving the city, charges its commercial customers the nation's highest rate for electricity, 12.8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The reason? "Fuel and taxes," said Con Ed spokeswoman Pat Richardi. "We still burn the creme de la creme of fuels. The environmental laws, quite understandably, require that we burn very, very clean fuel."
No such problem across the country in Grant County, Wash., where two dams on the Columbia River provide abundant hydroelectric power at the bargain rate for commercial users of 1.57 cents per kwh, cheapest in the country.
"The Columbia River has been good to us," said Gary Garnant, spokesman for the Grant County Public Utility District.
The survey was based on July prices. Listed as most expensive after Con Ed was Hawaii Electric Light, with a rate of 12.37 cents, because of the high cost of importing oil to the island state.
Listed next was Arkansas' Riceland Electric Cooperative. But Riceland's general manager, Fred Carlisle, said it charged commercial customers 7.4 cents per kwh in July, not the 11.82 cents listed in the survey. "I don't know where they got their figures, but it wasn't from us," he said.
Energy User News said its survey was "based on revenue per kwh."
At the bottom of the list, four Washington utilities were in the cheapest five. Following Grant County were the Tacoma (Wash.) Department of Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, Idaho Power Co. and Snohomish (Wash.) County Public Utility District.
Rate per kwh in Utility cents Consolidated Edison (N.Y.) 12.37 Hawaii Electric Light 12.37 Riceland (Ark.) Electric Coop 11.82 Philadelphia Electric Co. 11.50 N. Indiana Public Service 11.32 Maui Electric Co. 11.17 Long Island (N.Y.) Lighting 11.16 San Diego Gas & Electric 11.16 Key West (Fla.) Agency 10.97 Orange & Rockland (N.Y.) Utilities 10.36
Rate per kwh in Utility cents Grant (Wash.) Utility District 1.57 Tacoma (Wash.) Dept. of Public Utilities 1.94 Seattle City Light 2.49 Idaho Power Co. 3.34 Snohomish (Wash.) Utility District 3.43 Central Lincoln (Ore.) District 3.66 Anita (Iowa) Agency 3.85 Montana Power Co. 3.99 Kentucky Utility 4.61 Pacific Power & Light (Ore.) 4.69