— AARP Montana helped score a major victory for consumers in the 2017 legislative session. A new state law repeals a rule that allowed NorthWestern Energy to pass electricity supply costs on to consumers, with no limits on such things as consulting fees and travel expenses. The change gives the Montana Public Service Commission the authority to control these costs. The AARP state office worked throughout the session to drive grassroots messages from advocacy volunteers to elected officials, urging them to …

— More than 545,000 Oklahomans could see their electric bills increase an average of $14 a month if regulators approve a $156 million rate hike proposed by the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). The utility said it needs to recover more than $625 million already spent on infrastructure and equipment, including about 530,000 smart meters. PSO’s last increase was finalized less than a year ago. AARP Oklahoma encourages consumers to speak out against the new proposal by calling 844-248-8225. The …

— AARP has filed a letter urging state administrative law judges to reject the latest maneuverings by New York’s Energy Service Company industry to continue delaying a state inquiry into their deceptive marketing practices and false promises of savings. AARP and the Public Utility Law Project of New York (PULP) also encouraged consumers to avoid signing up with energy service companies (ESCOs) in the interim. “AARP is urging its members and all New Yorkers to refrain from signing contracts with ESCOs …

— Settlement with LG&E and Kentucky Utilities a Big Win for Kentuckians Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention settlement with LG&E and KU to save Kentuckians $90 million annually – $33.2 million of that for residential ratepayers. In response to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s announcement that the Office of Rate Intervention has entered into a settlement with LG&E and KU, AARP Kentucky released the following statement by volunteer State President Charlotte Whittaker. “The bottom line is this settlement with LG&E and …

— AARP Florida urged its members this week to pay close attention to votes by Florida legislators on a controversial proposal that would allow certain Florida electric-power companies to finance risky out-of-state natural-gas exploration projects with ratepayers’ money, and charge their customers for financing the ventures. At 5 pm Wednesday, the powerful Florida Senate Rules Committee will take up SB 1238, legislation which will allow Florida utility companies to finance out-of-state fracking ventures with ratepayer money. The bill has drawn strong …

—   Kentucky’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the process of making important decisions about the cost of your electric and gas bills. KU and LG&E are asking the Kentucky Public Service Commission to allow them to raise your utility rates — doubling your monthly basic service charge from $10.75 to $22. Kentuckians can’t afford another big LG&E/KU rate request. AARP Kentucky believes it’s unfair and too costly for customers. You can help stop this expensive rate increase. The Kentucky …

4 States

— St. Petersburg, Fla. – AARP Florida Advocacy Manager Jack McRay said AARP is disappointed in a 9-6 House committee vote Tuesday to allow Florida investor-owned utilities to shift the cost of out-of-state natural-gas exploration and development projects to ratepayers, while simultaneously collecting a return for itself on ratepayer-funded costs. The House Energy and Utilities subcommittee voted Tuesday to approve House Bill 1043 by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, in a subcommittee meeting held specifically to consider the legislation, just ahead of …

— Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), the state’s largest electricity provider, is asking the state Public Regulation Commission to approve its second rate hike in two years. The utility says it needs the extra money to help shut down two coal-fired power plants in northwestern New Mexico. “We understand that rate increases are needed from time to time, but AARP wants to ensure that any rate increases are absolutely necessary and are kept to an amount that serves both …

Affordable Utilities Now!

— St. Petersburg, Fla. – AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson issued the following statement urging AARP members and other consumers in the Panhandle to raise their voices on a proposed $106.8 million Gulf Power Co. rate increase. “AARP believes this proposed rate increase asks too much of residential ratepayers,” Johnson said.  The Gulf Power proposal would increase the fixed charge portion of bill, he noted, which is the amount that ratepayers pay regardless of whether they use any electricity. “That …

— ALBANY, N.Y. – New York utility consumers have a nearly billion-dollar ESCO problem. New Yorkers who signed up with an energy service company (ESCO) paid nearly $820 million more for their power than if they had stayed with their local utility company during the 30-month period ending June 30, 2016, according to the state’s official utility regulating body. Today the NYS Public Service Commission stated that after considerable experience with energy service to mass market customers by ESCOs, it has …