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New York power companies can charge cryptocurrency miners more

The New York State Public Service Commission ruled this week that it's OK to charge higher rates to companies that mine Bitcoin and other currencies.

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Value Goes Down : Illustration
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Power companies in New York can charge cryptocurrency companies in the state higher electricity rates, the New York State Public Service Commission ruled Thursday

"The ruling was needed to level the playing field and prevent local electricity prices for existing residential and business customers from skyrocketing due to the soaring local demand for electricity," the commission said in a statement. The website Utility Dive reported on the ruling.

It's the latest municipal response to cryptocurrency mining, which some local governments fear is hurting residents.

The commission said companies that use banks of computers to "mine" cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin have come to areas in the state that have low-cost electricity. These companies use thousands of times more electricity than an average residential customer, with the spike in demand leader to higher costs for regular customers in those communities, the commission said.

Earlier this month in Plattsburgh, New York, the city council banned cryptocurrency mining for commercial purposes altogether.

CNET's Laura Hautala contributed to this report.

First published 10:03 a.m. PT
Update, 12:18 p.m.: Adds information on cryptocurrency mining ban in Plattsburgh.