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.”
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