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AARP: Consumers Lack Seat at Table on CH Rate Hike; Assembly Backs Solutions

Cahill, Assembly Back Consumer Advocate, Intervenor Funding

(This statement was issued in conjunction with a New York State Public Service Commission public hearing at Kingston City Hall March 12, 2015 on a proposed rate increase by Central Hudson Gas & Electric)

ALBANY, New York - Statement by Beth Glassanos, Associate AARP New York State Director for the Hudson Valley:

“Here we go again. Central Hudson wants a rate hike and consumers have no meaningful input.

“What’s worse, consumers already pay over $14 million a year to have their own rates raised. That’s what New York’s utility industry bills them for its cost to lobby regulators. Where is the consumers’ cut for their own advocate at the table?

“We can’t continue denying consumers a voice on one of their most basic bread-and-butter issues: the cost of heating and lighting their homes.

“New York is one of only 10 states without an independent advocate for utility consumers. But the State Assembly is pushing for such an advocate, as well as funding for community-based groups to challenge individual rate hike proposals.

“AARP supports Assemblyman Cahill and his colleagues in establishing a real voice for utility consumers and calls on the State Senate and Governor Cuomo to include funding for utility consumer representation as part of the final state budget for the fiscal year that begins next month.”

Note: Find the Assembly proposal on pgs 62-65 of A6005 and the appropriation on pg 623 of A.6000 :

7  For  services  and  expenses  of  the  State

     8    Office of the Utility Consumer Advocate ........ 500,000

     9  For services and expenses of interveners for

    10    consumer advocacy in utility matters ......... 1,000,000

    11                                              --------------

    12    Total amount available ....................... 1,500,000

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