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 …

$900 Million and Counting

Have you ever been hit with sticker shock when you open your utility bill? This winter, many Americans faced skyrocketing energy costs, with bills doubling and tripling in just a month. Meanwhile, some seniors on fixed incomes still have to make tough choices between paying their utility bill or buying other necessities like food and medication. That’s why AARP is fighting, in states across the country, for fair and reasonable utility rates. We’re off to a strong start in 2014, …

Fear Is Back! Jury Duty, Other Intimidation Scams Return

As the forecast faithful can verify, March certainly came in like a lion. But out like a lamb? Scammers continue to be anything but sheepish in trying to steal your money and identity. Witness the recent return of the jury duty scam. That’s when fraudsters, posing as courthouse officials or police, telephone with claims you missed jury duty. Because of that, they threaten, you’re going to be arrested unless a fine is immediately paid – sometimes requested by credit card, but usually a …