Are you having a problem with your home energy bill? Wonder where to turn because your power service is unreliable? Do you want to voice your concerns about prices? As a home energy consumer, you have certain rights: a way to file complaints, voice your concerns and other consumer protections. AARP is fighting to save you money on your home energy bills and wants you to be an informed and engaged consumer.
Minnesotans have a strong advocate for consumers in the state Public Utility Commission (PUC). The Minnesota PUC represents the interests of utility customers before regulatory agencies and the courts. They work to protect the pocketbooks of consumers from unfair rate increases and to make sure utility services are reliable — especially during bad weather and other emergencies
The PUC also offers consumers a direct line for:
- Complaints if your utility service becomes unreliable or if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.
- Public Participation in community forums convened to discuss proposed rate increases
- Comment Submission is allowed online, by phone and in writing. In the past hundreds of AARP members have weighed in on proposed rate increases and in many cases those comments have help lower rates.
AARP has fought for years in state’s across the country to help keep rates at a fair level for members of all ages. In 2013, AARP Minnesota opposed a record 12% increase proposed by Xcel Energy. AARP staff and members attended public hearings, spoke out in the media and weighed in directly with the PUC. In the end the rate increase was slashed by 60% and Xcel had to refund nearly $70 million to Minnesota consumers.
Coverage of Xcel Case:
- Mankato Free Press: Public to Weigh In on Xcel Case on Monday
- Public News Service: Xcel’s Rate Request Doesn’t Add Up
AARP also weighed in on a 2013 CenterPoint Energy rate increase where 800,000 Minnesota customers are being asked to pay more regardless of their energy usage. This approach would penalize seniors – who typically use less energy – and conservation minded households by requiring them to pay more to subsidize the costs to higher energy users. Final resolution on the CenterPoint case will come sometime during the first half of 2014.
Coverage of the CenterPoint Case:
- Star Tribune: AARP Vows to Fight CenterPoint Rate Hike
- Star Tribune: CenterPoint Lauds its Natural Gas Pricing Plan
- Public News Service: Deadline Looms to Weigh In on CenterPoint Rate Case
In 2014 AARP Minnesota will continue to fight for consumers and work toward our ultimate goal: fighting for our members and all families — to prevent unfair utility rates, protect reliable utility services, ensure continued affordability and strengthen consumer protections. Establishing and working with effective state consumer advocate offices is one way AARP achieves this goal — for you.