Con Edison won approval from the Public Service Commission, the state agency that oversees utilities, to rise its rates 12% over three years. The NY Times reports, "Con Ed estimated that the increases would raise a typical household bill, now about $84 a month, to more than $94 a month in 2012." This first hike will take effect next month, and the average household's monthly bill will go up by $3.63 (the rates are a little higher in Westchester and a little lower for businesses).

Apparently the rate hike is 40% lower than what Con Ed previously requested—PSC chairman Garry Brown said, "A record number of New Yorkers can't pay their electricity bills as it is today, much less with this increase." Well, Con Ed does charge the highest residential rates, save for areas in Alaska and Hawaii.

The rate hike is expected to bring Con Ed $420 million over the next three years. The utility says that about half of the hike is due to higher property taxes, other taxes, and pension costs; the other half is needed to invest in operations. Still, one resident fumed to WCBS 2, "That's what happens when you have a monopoly."