Winter is here and in Minnesota our heating bills are already going up, up, up because of the cold weather.

Now, CenterPoint Energy is proposing to raise our gas rates even higher. 

They are requesting an annual rate increase of $44.3 million, or an approximate 5% increase for its natural gas customers.

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AARP is very concerned about several parts of this rate increase request and we urge you to weigh in. We are especially concerned that those Minnesotans that can least afford it are being asked to pay a larger share of this rate increase.  Including consumers above the age of 65, who on average use less energy than younger households.

Sign this petition and join AARP in urging the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to thoroughly scrutinize the rate increase request even further to ensure that consumers need not pay a penny more than necessary.

It is not surprising that an audit of the requested CenterPoint rate increase shows that requested increase is almost twice as much as needed.   In fact, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is arguing that CenterPoint should shave $21 million from the utility’s $44.3 million request in part because of unreasonable expenses, such as excessive incentive compensation for utility executives.

AARP agrees.  We are very concerned about the level of corporate profit that CenterPoint is requesting and we are urging the PUC to thoroughly scrutinize the rate increase request even further to ensure that consumers need not pay a penny more than necessary.

AARP is also opposed to CenterPoint’s proposal to restructure their rates.  This will mean an increase in the “customer charge” from $8 each month to $15, meaning consumers would pay  $15 each month before using any gas at all.  We agree with the Department of Commerce that this amount should be greatly reduced.

CenterPoint’s rate design proposal would result in higher percentage rate increases for low usage consumers than for those that use more gas.

The new restructure also means the benefits that consumers currently gain from conservation would be eroded.  Because of the new surcharge consumers will pay more, even if they’ve worked hard to save energy.

Sign this petition and join AARP in urging  the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to thoroughly scrutinize the rate increase request even further to ensure that consumers need not pay a penny more than necessary.

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