Letters to the New York Department of Public Service indicate that Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and sister company New York State Electric and Gas Corp. are weighing temporary rate hikes and cuts in capital spending.

That has the department’s general counsel questioning why parent company Energy East Corp. is down in the mouth about its earnings in 2009.

In letters sent to attorney David L. Schwartz, who represents NYSEG and RG&E, the department said a temporary rate hike in the time frame requested was unlikely given New York’s regulatory requirements. The request appears to have been aimed at getting approval by the end of 2008.

“In light of this procedural framework and considering the limited information you provided to us, it seems highly unlikely that the commission would be able to act on a request by NYSEG or RG&E for a temporary rate increase within the end-of-the-year time frame you outlined in our meeting,” wrote Peter McGowan, general counsel for the DPS.

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