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AARP surveyed Delawareans 50+ on electric utilities.

Delaware is slowly recovering from the recession, and the state’s population of residents age 50+ is also rapidly growing. They are the ones hurt most by utility rate increases, especially those living on fixed incomes.

“Each day, many Delawareans make a decision between paying their utilities, buying medicines, and buying food.” said Lucretia Young, AARP Delaware State Director. “We cannot afford to allow this to continue.”

AARP has made a commitment to ensuring affordable electric rates and consumer protections for all residents. To help assess the views and needs of Delawareans on this issue, AARP’s Public Policy Institute performed a survey of 800 Delawareans age 50+. The survey revealed that 53 percent say they are extremely or very concerned about the costs of their electricity going up and another 24 percent say they are somewhat concerned.  

Sixty-three percent said their state elected officials are not doing enough to lower the costs of their electricity bills while only 16 percent said elected officials are doing enough to lower these costs. 

Fifteen percent say they do not learn about electric rate increases until after the rates have already been raised.  About a third reports that they learn about these rate increases through notices in the newspaper (34%) or in their monthly electric bill (31%) and nearly a quarter learns about them through radio or television announcements (24%).  Other key findings include:

Approximately three-quarters of Delaware residents age 50+ oppose Delmarva’s proposed electric rate increase of $42 million.

  • 58 percent strongly oppose the $42 million electric rate increase proposed by Delmarva in March 2013 and another 15 percent somewhat oppose this proposal.  
  • 66 percent do not believe that the interests of residential electric utility customers are taken into consideration when rate increases are proposed.   

Nearly seven in ten Delaware residents age 50+ are not aware that there is a Public Advocate Office in Delaware that represents residential electric utility customers and nearly nine in ten say it is important that this office have enough funds to be able to represent the interests of residential customers when rate increases are proposed.  

  • 67 percent are not aware of the Delaware Public Advocate Office while 33 percent are aware of this office.
  • 89 percent say it is extremely (33%), very (34%) or somewhat important (23%) that the Delaware Public Advocate Office has sufficient funds to fully represent the interests of residential electric utility customers.   

More than four out of every five Delaware residents age 50+ support continuing to require electricity providers to offer a Standard Plan at the lowest reasonable cost with rates that are adjusted no more than annually.

  • 62 percent strongly support continuing to require electricity providers in Delaware to offer the Standard Plan at the lowest reasonable cost with only annual adjustments and another 20 percent somewhat support this action. 

View the survey on AARP’s Public Policy Institute site.

Learn more about Delaware’s Office of the Public Advocate.

AARP’s Affordable Utilities Now  initiatve has resources and tips to help you cut those bills.