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Consumer Groups Praise PSC Affordability Effort As "Major, Unprecedented Step"

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Photo credit: ©istockphoto/annebaek

Contacts: Erik Kriss,, David Irwin,

Joint Statement by AARP, NYPIRG, Consumers Union, Public Utility Law Project:

ALBANY, New York – “By opening a proceeding to review and standardize energy affordability programs, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is taking a major and unprecedented step that could help millions of utility consumers across New York State.

“New Yorkers pay among the highest average residential electric rates in the continental United States. Consumers’ struggles are evident; every day, New York utility companies shut off power to more than 200 customers unable to afford their bills. Over a million customers fell behind on their utility bills last year.

“Energy affordability is critical to New Yorkers and is completely compatible with the goals Governor Cuomo and PSC Chairwoman Zibelman articulated in their ground-breaking ‘Reforming Energy Vision’ (REV) proposal of modernizing and decentralizing the state’s power generation and distribution system, encouraging clean energy and conservation, lowering power costs and spurring economic growth.

“We are anxious to start working on this issue to highlight the needs of those struggling to pay their bills, high rates of termination and arrears, and the lack of an independent advocate to challenge rate hikes.

“We commend Chairwoman Zibelman for her leadership and her concerns about the ability of New Yorkers to pay their energy bills. We look forward to working with her and the Commission staff to develop an energy affordability blueprint for use in all future rate cases.”

- Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP for New York State

- Russ Haven, Legislative Counsel, New York Public Interest Research Group

- Chuck Bell, Programs Director, Consumers Union

- Gerald Norlander, Executive Director, Public Utilities Law Project (New York’s Utility Project)


- More than 1 million customers of New York State investor-owned utilities were over 60 days past due paying their utility bills as of August 2014.

- New York's investor-owned utilities issued more than 7 million final termination notices to their customers in the 12 months from September 2013 to August 2014 - 8% more than the prior year and 30% more than in 2005.

- New York's investor-owned utilities terminated the accounts of over 265,000 customers in the 12 months from September 2013 to August 2014 - 8% more than the prior year.

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