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Assoc. Concerned About What Happens When PSEG Rate Freeze
Ends – Calls for Consumer Advocate Office to be Part of the Solution
NY, New York – AARP New York today called for a strong and independent utility consumer advocate office to augment Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to freeze Long Islanders’ electricity rates for three years.
The governor today proposed PSEG take over most of the Long Island Power Authority’s operations as part of the freeze, and the utility will likely seek rate hikes in the future.
A utility consumer advocate office would protect all New Yorkers by representing their interests when utility regulators decide rate requests.
While greatly disappointed in LIPA’s recovery efforts, Long Islanders age 50+ strongly support creating a utility watchdog with teeth, according to a survey commissioned by AARP New York and a new Siena poll of 18+ commissioned by AARP.
“AARP commends Governor Cuomo’s efforts, but let’s take the proposal one step further with a long-term solution that will give Long Islanders a stronger voice in the utility regulatory process,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. “A consumer advocate office with teeth to stand up to utility companies like PSEG and LIPA is the missing piece to Gov. Cuomo’s plan for oversight of utilities. New Yorkers already pay the highest electric rates in the continental United States, and Long Islanders need protection when PSEG seeks its first rate hike after the freeze ends.”
Already, 40 other states have established an independent utility consumer advocate office to represent consumers in rate hike cases.
AARP New York is supporting legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) to create an independent utility consumer advocate office in New York ( S4550/ A6239).
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