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AARP Survey Shows Strong Opposition to Energy Auction, Use of Smart Meters Among Voters Age 50+

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Connecticut voters age 50+ overwhelmingly oppose recent electric utility proposals being considered by state lawmakers that would deny 800,000 customers a choice of affordable electricity plans and drive up rates for seniors and families.  Seven out of ten registered voters in Connecticut age 50 and older say they oppose Governor Malloy’s “energy auction” proposal which would sell the rights to provide electric service to thousands of current CL&P and UI customers, according to a recent survey commissioned by AARP Connecticut. 

AARP is urging state legislators to reject these ill-conceived proposals that would harm seniors and result in higher electricity bills for thousands of Connecticut ratepayers. Send an email to your legislator today!

According to the survey, nearly seven out of ten (69%) older residents said they are concerned about rising electricity rates. “Some may think seniors have a short memory but they have not forgotten the electricity price spikes of just a few years ago,” said John Erlingheuser, AARP’s Advocacy Director for Connecticut.  “Older residents overwhelmingly oppose efforts by the state to auction away their choice of affordable electric plans and to require higher "peak use" rates for residential customers. 

In addition to questions about the energy auction, the survey also asked older registered voters for their opinions about the current Standard Plan option for electricity and proposals being considered that would require mandatory “time of day” or “peak use” rate plans for residential customers.  The survey found that:

• Four out of five residents believe that offering a Standard Plan is an important way to help keep electricity costs down and support the state continuing to require electric companies to provide a standard offer plan. 
• Six out of ten Connecticut registered voters age 50+ oppose making “time-of-day” or “peak use” rate pricing plans mandatory.

According to AARP’s Erlingheuser, mandating “time of day” or “peak use” rate plans for residential customers would result in higher rates for those who are unable to shift their energy needs to off-peak hours, such as seniors and those who work from home.  “People living on low or fixed incomes are particularly vulnerable to high utility costs and are often forced to reduce expenditures on other basic needs, including food and medicine, or to reduce their levels of heating and cooling beyond safe levels if they cannot afford their utility bills. While conservation is a laudable goal, punishing those who are least able to take advantage of savings, and least able to afford higher rates, is bad public policy,” Erlingheuser said.

Poll results are based on a telephone survey of 800 Connecticut residents age 50+ who are registered to vote.  The survey was conducted between March 20 and March 30, 2013 and has a sampling error of ±3.5 percent.

View the full survey report.

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