Affordable Utilities Now!Contacts: David Irwin dirwin@aarp.org  Erik Kriss ekriss@aarp.org

 NYC Residents Pay 102% more Than U.S. City Average – Federal Stats Show it’s Time to Change the Game for NY Ratepayers, AARP Says

 NEW YORK, New York – Some things never change in New York, though when it comes to electric rates, most residents likely wish they would.  New York City ConEd customers pay more than twice as much as the average American for electricity, according to an AARP review of new data.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has posted April 2013 information showing the average U.S. city residential electric rate stood at 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Residents in the greater New York City area (including Long Island, CT and Northern NJ) paid 45% more (18.6 cent per kWh), ConEd customers, however, shelled out 25.9 cents per kWh, 102% higher than the average ratepayer.

While BLS statistics show average electric rates dropping in recent months nationally, ConEd’s rates have been climbing – already up from an average of 25.5 cents per kWh last year.

It may sound like pennies on the dollar, but AARP says it all adds up for New York state consumers, who pay the highest residential electric rates in the lower 48 states, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Association states the numbers drive home the need to give New York consumers a utility advocate office with teeth, such as those already established in 40 other states.

“New Yorkers, and ConEd customers in particular get steamrolled when utility companies press for higher rates – and this data serves as exhibit A of why consumers need a stronger voice,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. “With a $400 million post-Sandy rate hike on the table, ConEd delivered over $190 million in earnings this past quarter to shareholders. It’s time to change New York’s utility game and put consumers’ interests front and center.”

Neighboring Connecticut’s utility consumer advocate saved ratepayers $730 million in the 2012 fiscal year. At a cost of $3 million, that’s more than $243 in benefits for every dollar spent. California’s advocate delivered a 153-1 return on investment on behalf of residential consumers.

AARP New York is supporting legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) to create an independent utility consumer advocate office in New York (S4550/A6239).

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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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