Click here to close now.

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 Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
Agile, which started in the development organization, has gradually expanded into other areas downstream - namely IT and Operations. Teams – then teams of teams – have streamlined processes, improved feedback loops and driven a much faster pace into IT departments which have had profound effects on the entire organization. In his session at DevOps Summit, Anders Wallgren, Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud, will discuss how DevOps and Continuous Delivery have emerged to help connect dev...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US a...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and hig...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and easy to use. MangoApps has been named a "Market Leader" by Ovum Research and a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner. 20,000+ business custome...
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.