Councilmember Mary Lupien is calling out Bob Duffy,
Congressman Joe Morelle and County Executive Adam Bello for their ties to Avangrid.
On July 3, City Councilmember Mary Lupien tweeted, "Well, again Bob Duffy is on the board of Avangrid and two of Congressman Joe Morelle's kids are VPs at Osseroff Assoc. which is RGE's lobbying firm. Not likely Bello would go against these men. We can always do a ballot referendum. Better to study first tho."
Lupien later retweeted the statement along with the quote, "Correction. It's one child who is VP. The other is Morelli, different family."
Lawmakers and activists are debating over replacing Avangrid's subsidiary Rochester Gas & Electric(RG&E) with a public utility. WXXI reported public outcry from activists and residents regarding billing issues and erratic customer service. The advocacy group Metro Justice has called for the city to put up $500,000 towards the study, which would determine whether the city of Rochester could cut ties with RG&E and build a public utility. The group also called on the Monroe County Legislature to allocate $1 million for the study.
Lupien's tweets were published weeks after Bello released the following statement:
“RG&E must improve their service, billing and customer issues. I have advocated for that improvement by opposing the RG&E rate increase directly with the Public Service Commission. I have also met several times with the new local management and with the CEO of AVANGRID to address the legitimate concerns of Monroe County residents. However, creating a public utility is an extremely complex issue that is beyond the scope of Monroe County. It could have billions of dollars of implications for taxpayers. RGE is the largest property tax payer in the county, contributing annual taxes north of $100 million dollars to the county, city, towns, villages and school districts.
The company has $4 billion in assets that would need to be acquired, in addition to obligations for maintenance, repairs, environmental cleanups and operations of multiple gas plants and the electric power infrastructure. RGE spans 9 counties from here to the Pennsylvania border, requiring buy-in from all municipal governments in the current RGE service area in order to make any changes. For the reasons stated, I do not feel spending $1 million county taxpayer dollars on such a public utility study is warranted.”
So, is there any truth to Councilmember Mary Lupien's tweets? Here is what we've learned:
According to Avangrid's website, Bob Duffy is one of 14 Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is currently made up of fourteen (14) directors, eight (8) of which are independent directors. They are responsible for the company’s sustainable development strategy and oversees sustainability, social, environmental and health & safety issues and Avangrid's commitment to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the member states of the United States and receives reports on such matters at each regular meeting.
Congressman Joe Morelle's son Nicholas Morelle is Vice President of Ostroff Associates—which lists RG&E as one of its clients.
Do you think Bello's relationship with Bob Duffy and Joe Morelle will impact his decision?
Tell us what you think...