— Months after helping to defeat what could have been one of the largest utility rate hikes in state history, AARP Oklahoma is gearing up to fight additional proposals to increase rates in 2016. Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) sought a $1.1 billion increase in 2015, but the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) rejected it. If approved, the proposed hike would have raised rates by up to 19 percent by 2019. AARP volunteers played a role in blocking the increase by sending …

— From MIRS Residential customers would pay more and industrial customers would pay less, under a new rate structure for Consumers Energy electricity customers approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Tuesday.  The MPSC action mirrored an arrangement it first approved for DTE Energy a few weeks back.  The order issued by the MPSC, as a whole, would result in a 4.4 percent decrease in electric bills for Consumers’ industrial customers, a 0.3 percent decrease for commercial and secondary industrial users, …

— IMPORTANT UPDATE, MAY 27, 2015: The Connecticut General Assembly gave final passage on May 27, 2015 to legislation (S.B. 573) that bans variable electric rates for residential customers and sets up a process for PURA to further investigate and make future recommendations to completely eliminate variable rates when a customer’s contract expires. The bill now goes to the Governor for signature. AARP is fighting to save you money on your electric bills so you can keep more of your hard-earned …

— Anticipating that power utility NV Energy will propose rate changes this summer, AARP Nevada is recruiting volunteers to join its Utility Watchdogs team. Summer cooling costs are particularly burdensome for Nevadans on fixed incomes. When the state Public Utilities Commission considers a rate case, AARP experts comment on the proposal, and the AARP Nevada Utility Watchdog team ensures consumers’ voices are heard. The volunteers recently helped defeat a Southwest Gas proposal to charge customers for infrastructure replacement before the work …

— Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), the state’s second-largest utility, is seeking a $45 million rate increase. The proposal would raise electric bills by about $4 a month for customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours. The utility, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, plans to use some of the money to switch customers to smart meters, which monitor energy use by time of day. In a 2011 AARP survey of Oklahomans age 50-plus, 52 percent said they were extremely or very concerned …

— AARP Connecticut released the following statement from state advocacy director, John Erlingheuser, regarding the recent passage of Senate Bill 2:  “Senate Bill 2 does add some transparency to the third party electric supply market, however, it does little to address the types of egregious practices of some third party electric suppliers that got us into this crisis in the first place. AARP Connecticut and other consumer advocates, including ConnPIRG, Connecticut Citizens Action Group and LARCC are calling on Legislators to …

— Thousands of Connecticut utility customers are being lured in by unscrupulous energy companies with the promise of saving money on their electric bills but they are paying more.  In fact, according to a study by Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel, nine out of ten customers who switched to a third party supplier in CL&P’s territory and seven out of ten customers in UI’s territory were paying more than the Standard Offer during the study period.  The overpayments totalled about $13.7 million per month – money …

— Last year, AARP Connecticut successfully opposed a plan to eliminate Connecticut’s standard offer electric service that would have forced nearly 800,000 residents to purchase their electricity from a third-party electric supplier.  Through that effort, AARP engaged thousands of consumers and subsequently brought to light many of the unscrupulous marketing practices and customer abuses taking place in the deregulated market, and the need for additional consumer protections.  In 2014, AARP is working with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the Office of Consumer Counsel, The Attorney General’s Office and state lawmakers to strengthen and improve …

— The Arizona Corporation Commission is considering whether to deregulate electric utilities. AARP opposes the move, citing concerns about deceptive marketing practices and higher monthly bills that have occurred in some deregulated states. “Arizona’s residential electric rates are already below the national average, while consumers in some deregulated states are paying higher-than-average rates,” said David Mitchell, AARP state director. “With our hot climate, why gamble with the pocketbooks and safety of Arizonans?” The commission is reviewing public comments and is expected …

AARP Maryland lobbies regularly for consumers in the utility rate hike fight.

— AARP Maryland spoke out against today’s decision by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to grant Pepco a ‘reasonable profit’ in its decision to partially approve Pepco’s rate hike request. The decision will go into effect immediately and puts the costs for infrastructure charges – yet to be made – squarely on the backs on consumers, allowing the utility giant to continue spending its revenues and profits on corporate shareholders, instead of investing in its own company. “We are disappointed …