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
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, provideed economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session also included a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze 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, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
"We are a custom software development, engineering firm. We specialize in cloud applications from helping customers that have on-premise applications migrating to the cloud, to helping customers design brand new apps in the cloud. And we specialize in mobile apps," explained Peter Di Stefano, Vice President of Marketing at Impiger Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...