How to Find Reward by Working With Those in Need

As Maureen McCarty and I meet with Maria (not her real name), I realize the compounded struggles of the poor. Maria’s English speaking and comprehension are limited. She and her husband are separated. Her son’s health issues complicate her search for work. And at this moment, with area rents topping $1,000 a month, even for a small apartment, Maria needs rent assistance. Can we help her? Each Wednesday morning, McCarty and other finance counselors who volunteer with a Christ Church’s …

Across the States: Fighting for You in 2015

This month, state legislatures throughout the nation are convening to mark the inauguration of new governors, state legislators and other state leaders. We will then begin to hear State of the State messages from governors that detail the challenges, opportunities and priorities they have defined for the year ahead. At AARP, we’ve also set our priorities for 2015 with a state advocacy agenda that highlights how we will continue to fight for you in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto …

When Utility Companies Want to Raise Your Rates …

Meet Shirlee C. of South Minneapolis. As a senior on a fixed income, she takes a financial hit every time her utility rate increases. She can’t afford for her bill to keep going up, but her utility company, Xcel Energy, is asking for another $123 a year by 2016. If approved, this would be the seventh rate increase for Minnesotans in just 10 years! Shirlee, and all Americans, should have to pay only what is reasonable for reliable service — and …

Do You Have a Voice at the Table When Utility Companies Try to Raise Your Rates?

Affordable and reliable utilities are essential for all of us. We rely on utilities to keep us warm in winter – and cool during summer heat waves – to cook our meals and keep the lights on in the dark. During severe weather and emergencies, our utilities become more important than ever – our lifelines to health and safety. Today, many Americans struggle with high utility bills. For seniors and others on fixed incomes especially, rate hikes and other cost …

Don’t Hang Up on Landlines Just Yet

As a family caregiver to Mom and Pop for many years, I know reliable technology can mean the difference between life and tragedy. Yet, in states across the country, phone companies that provide landline service are trying to force residents to switch to a new wireless phone option – one that does not work with many medical monitoring devices, like pacemakers and defibrillators, home security systems, and sometimes even 911. In New Jersey, for example, the phone company doesn’t want …

Spotlight: New Jerseyans Fight Back – and Win Against Higher Utility Bills

This is a true story of how New Jerseyans fought back against the largest proposed utility rate increase by the state’s biggest gas and electric company in its century-long history – and won. Just last week, consumer advocates – including AARP – reached a settlement on “Energy Strong,” a PSE&G proposal to harden its electric and gas systems following the tragedy of Superstorm Sandy. The settlement saves New Jersey utility customers $1.6 billion.  A culmination of a more than a …