Welcome!

News Feed Item

AARP Report: Why New York Consumers are Losing the Utility Rate Hike Game

Utilities Charge Customers $10M/Yr. to Push Regulators for Some of Highest Rates in Nation; Consumers Lack Seat at Table, AARP Says Watchdog Needed

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Yorkers pay the highest average residential electric rates in the continental United States, and when it comes utility companies pressing for even higher rates, the cards are always stacked against consumers.  A new AARP report released today details just how unfair the equation is, showing not just how much utility companies spend to push through utility rate hikes, but just how much power providers bill the consumer to do so. All the while, consumers lack a seat at the table.  That's something AARP says needs to change.  

Unlike ratepayers in 40 other states, New York's residential utility consumers have virtually no one looking out for them at the regulatory table. That's the bottom line finding of a new AARP Report: "David v. Goliath; Why consumers are losing New York's utility game."

AARP says it's time for New York to look out for its ratepayers by creating an independent utility consumer advocate office with the power to sue over unfair rate hikes.

"It's like facing double jeopardy with no defense lawyer," said Beth Finkel, director of AARP in New York State. "Keeping the heat and lights on is a basic necessity that's getting harder to afford, especially for older New Yorkers who are often on fixed incomes. Whenever utilities push for rate increases, consumers need to be able to push back. It's shameful that New York, which has some of the highest utility rates in the nation, is one of only 10 states without an independent utility consumer advocate."

Essentially, ratepayers are paying to propose and defend increases in their own rates. In contrast, ratepayers have little to no representation during rate proceedings before the state's utility-regulating Public Service Commission. Independent utility consumer advocate offices in other states, which have the power to sue over rate hikes, save ratepayers far more than they cost. Connecticut's office reported $243 in rate reductions for every dollar spent, while California's reported a 153-1 return on investment.

"This is about protecting New Yorker's kitchen table economies, which for many are already in a fragile state," added Finkel.  "For older New Yorkers, when their utility bills go up, they are forced to make hard choices, sometimes between paying the bills and filling a prescription. They need a voice to represent their interests for this most basic of necessities."

Many low- and moderate-income seniors and families are falling behind in making payments for high-priced utility service in New York, where rates are 56 percent above the national average and second costliest in the nation, behind only Hawaii. Many hard-pressed New York ratepayers incur additional late payment charges and face shutoff of essential electric or gas service as a bill collection measure. New York utilities shut off power to about 284,000 households in 2011.

Last summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response recommended creation of a Citizens Utility Board, a vehicle to ensure independent consumer representation before the PSC.

The state Assembly passed a bill last year sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) to create a similar independent utility consumer advocate office. The state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference, part of a governing majority coalition with the chamber's Republicans, supports the bill as part of its 2014 agenda. The Senate version is sponsored by IDC member Diane Savino of Staten Island.

AARP is urging Governor Cuomo to adopt his Moreland Commission's recommendation as part of the 2014-15 Executive Budget he proposes next week and work with state lawmakers to create an independent utility consumer advocate office – giving residential ratepayers the meaningful seat at the regulatory table they need.

Follow us on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

SOURCE AARP New York

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTred processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...