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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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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;  www.aarp.org ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at  www.aarp.org .

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