This year the state Public Service Commission announced it will review low-income assistance programs with an eye toward reducing the incidence of utility shut-offs due to unpaid bills. The commission said it has long recognized—as stated in the New York State Constitution—that the “aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns.”
AARP welcomed the move but is asking the commission “to cast a wider net to help middle-income residents as well,” said Bill Ferris, AARP associate state director for advocacy. “Many middle-income New Yorkers are struggling to get by on fixed incomes. They often have to choose between keeping the heat on and putting enough food on the table or buying prescription drugs.”
New York is home to some of the highest utility rates in the country. In 2014 nearly 277,000 residential electric and gas customers in the state had their services disconnected because of nonpayment. To learn more or to get involved in this issue, email firstname.lastname@example.org.