ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today on the New York State Assembly’s passage of a bill to establish an independent utility consumer advocate, which passed the State Senate earlier this week and will be sent to the Governor:
“This is a landmark day for New York’s overburdened utility consumers. We pay among the highest residential electric rates in the nation and could finally join utility customers in many states who already have an independent advocate fighting for them when rate hikes are on the table.
“Con Edison and National Grid are asking for over $2 billion more from customers over the next three years, proposing to increase electric and gas delivery rates by double digits. And the need for an independent advocate to push back on these and other rate hikes will only grow as our population ages and more and more retired and older New Yorkers face ever-rising utility bills on fixed or limited incomes.
“It’s galling that utility companies use their customers’ money to hire lawyers and experts who push regulators to increase rates on those same customers – while consumers have virtually no one at the table arguing solely for their interests. Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel saved utility consumers $550 million in 2017-18 alone through court actions and other advocacy, according to the office’s most recent annual report.
“AARP applauds Senator Savino and Assemblyman Dinowitz for their leadership and tenacity in helping finish this years-long fight for an advocate that will undoubtedly save consumers millions in energy costs, and we thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie for their support. AARP strongly urges Governor Cuomo to level the playing field for consumers by signing this bill into law.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.