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AARP: NY’s Utility Consumers Would Get Watchdog Under Assembly-Passed Bill

Beth Finkel headshot
Measure Would Establish Independent Consumer Advocate Office

Statement from Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State, on today’s State Assembly passage of A.180 :

“New York utility consumers pay among the highest electric bills in the nation, and AARP applauds Speaker Heastie, Assemblyman Dinowitz and the Assembly for passing legislation to give their overburdened constituents an independent and meaningful voice when utilities try to raise residential rates.

“Assemblyman Dinowitz’s legislation to create an independent utility consumer advocate office with the power to mount legal challenges to unfair rate increases would level a playing field that’s now tilted disturbingly in the utility industry’s favor.

“New York consumers already pick up the $10 million-plus annual tab for their utility companies to push regulators for rate increases. Who’s at the regulatory table fighting for them?

“New York is one of only 10 states without an independent advocate for utility consumers. The vast majority of states save their residents hundreds of millions of dollars through utility consumer advocate offices.

“This is the third straight year the Assembly has passed legislation to establish an independent utility consumer advocate for New Yorkers. The Senate and Governor rejected the idea during state budget negotiations, but we remain hopeful they’ll recognize their constituents’ needs and join the Assembly to give our seven million residential utility consumers a meaningful voice.”

Contacts: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org; Donna Liquori, dliquori@aarp.org

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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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