BROOKLYN - Con Edison?s proposed 17 percent rate hike is actually more like a 36 percent hike, according to a local assemblyman.The utility company proposed the increase three weeks ago. However, at a hearing Wednesday, Con Ed?s Chief Financial Officer Robert Hogland admitted that the utility company's take from the rate increase is greater than 17 percent. Assemblyman Michael Gianaris said Con Ed is basing the hike on a customer?s whole bill, even though the utility only handles power delivery. Gianaris says Con Ed should only be asking for an increase based on maintaining wires and equipment, not supplying the power. While the lawmaker said the increase would only benefit the company's shareholders, Con Ed defended its hike. It maintains the money is needed to pay for past projects.

The Public Service Commission must approve the increase for it to take effect; a vote is expected next year.