– istockphoto.com/Feng-Yu

Association Praises Programs to Help Low-Income, Moderate Income Customers, But Settlement Shows Need for Utility Consumer Advocate as proposed by NYS Assembly

ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today on the New York State Public Service Commission’s approval of the National Grid utility rate settlement:

“A double-digit rate increase is simply too much for the overburdened New York consumers who rely on National Grid for their energy.

AARP appreciates that regulators reduced the company’s original request for an over 20% hike in both electric and natural gas delivery rates, but a double digit increase over the next three years will still pose hardships for consumers.

AARP is also disappointed regulators did not lower the high fixed customer charges for residential consumers, which hurt low-energy users while failing to encourage conservation.

This agreement again shows the need for New York to join 40 other states by establishing an independent utility consumer advocate with the power to challenge unfair rate increases in court. We’re glad the State Assembly included creation of such a consumer advocate in its state budget proposal this week.

AARP is glad regulators heeded our call to limit a costly ‘smart grid’ project rollout and to incorporate the new low-income energy programs that have been a part of other recent utility rate cases.

We’re also encouraged that under the settlement, National Grid has committed to proposing energy efficiency programs in the future that target moderate income customers. We look forward to working with the utility on these initiatives.

Lastly, AARP appreciates that the agreement passes on to customers savings National Grid will realize from the new federal corporate tax rate that took effect this year, and we will continue to work with the Public Service Commission to ensure Governor Cuomo’s promise that consumers see the full benefit of tax reform.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into ‘Real Possibilities’ by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.

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