High Utility Expenditures a Concern for Older Consumers

Overall utility expenditures declined from 2011 to 2012, but older consumers remain at risk. A recently released AARP Public Policy Institute analysis of 2012 Consumer Expenditure Survey data finds that utility expenditures as a percentage of average annual expenditures are highest for consumers age 50 or older. The report also notes that as household income decreases, utility expenditures become a greater percentage of average annual expenditures for all age groups. Utility spending by older consumers varies by not only age and …

What’s Hot? Cold Weather Scams

Recent falling temperatures in parts of the U.S. have prompted a new wave of a time-tested power play – fraudsters posing as utility company workers who threaten to shut off your service because of supposedly unpaid bills. The Shutoff Swindle has prompted warnings in recent weeks from utility companies from Maine to Washington state, including in (usually) warmer-weather states such as Texas. Typically, this scam occurs by telephone. Callers claim to be billing representatives from your utility company. They say you’ve …

4 More Wins – For You

Over the last two years, AARP has saved consumers an estimated $3 billion on their utility bills, protected reliable phone service and fought for stronger consumer protections for all Americans – all as part of our multistate utilities campaign.  And, we’re not stopping there. 4 More Wins for Consumers: As recently highlighted in the New York Times, AARP South Carolina volunteers raised their voices in opposition to Duke Energy’s request for a rate increase that would have increased yearly bills …

One Public Service Commission Puts Excessive Profits before People

Remember Paula Wood, the retired, single Alabamian struggling to pay her electric bills? While there has been some good news, things in Alabama aren’t looking a whole lot better. In early July the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to lower the profit (return on equity) that Mobile Gas is allowed to earn from 13.45% to 10.95%.  While the decision is complicated, this will initially help save consumers like Paula money. The rates for Mobile Gas customers will go down, but, …

FCC Halts Plan to Replace Landline Phone Service in NY, NJ

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put the brakes on Verizon’s plan to fast track the replacement of traditional landline telephone service in parts of New York and New Jersey with a new, less reliable, wireless option called Voice Link.  Instead of automatically approving Verizon’s application, the FCC has requested more information from the company. Superstorm Sandy In October of 2012 Superstorm Sandy, the most destructive storm of the season, devastated much of the Northeast.  Sandy soon became one …

Get Cooking With a DIY Solar Oven

With plenty of sunny days still ahead – but with summer vacation nearing its sunset for kids and grandkids – here’s a fun, inexpensive and educational project to do with the young people in your life during the dog days of summer.  Build a simple solar oven (aka a “solar cooker”) from repurposed household items. It will not only amaze and amuse kids of all ages, but it really works. And it will save you money and keep the heat out …