Contact: Luke Russell, lrussell@aarp.org

Exterior of industrial plantColumbus, OH. – AARP supports elimination of language by the Ohio House in the Budget Bill (HB 483) that would have removed legal protections for natural gas and electricity consumers and their monthly utility bills. AARP opposed provisions that would have allowed utilities to seek rate increases for the cost to clean up long defunct manufactured gas and electric plants (MGP). “AARP is thankful that consumers in Ohio, including AARP members, will not be impacted by rates and policies that increase the cost of essential utility service,” said Jane Taylor, AARP Ohio State Director

AARP requested that the amendment allowing utilities to charge consumers for cleanup of defunct plants should not be included in Budget Bill, and the provision was removed yesterday. “Current law balances the interests of consumers and utilities by limiting the costs collected from consumers to only those costs of assets that are used and useful”, said Taylor. She said, “By removing this consumer protection, Ohio seniors and others would have been required to pay higher utility bills for costs unrelated to providing utility service.”

AARP also did not think these changes should be considered in a budget bill. This issue relates to utility ratemaking, not the state budget. Such a significant change should be introduced as a stand-alone bill (if at all) and discussed in the substantive Senate and House committees, giving all stakeholders a better opportunity to voice their views. AARP thanks the Ohio House for eliminating this provision in the Budget Bill.

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.

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