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AARP Maine, New York and Illinois Notch Wins in Fight Against Rising Utility Costs

En español | We’re proud that our work to bring relief from high heating and electric bills will pay off this winter for consumers in Maine, New York, Illinois and other states. 

With energy costs reaching record highs, we’ve been urging officials to reject unnecessary rate hikes and boost funding for programs that help people stay warm and keep the lights on.
Our Maine office successfully pushed for legislation, signed by Gov. Janet Mills last month, to send $450 energy relief checks to 880,000 Maine residents. It also allocates an additional $71 million for home heating assistance and short-term emergency housing programs.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul in January announced a $672 million program to help hundreds of thousands of residents pay off past-due utility bills, thanks in part to lobbying by AARP New York. The measure follows a similar AARP-backed effort introduced in the state last summer. 

And in Illinois, People’s Gas, a natural gas company in the Chicago area, abandoned plans to renew a controversial surcharge after pushback from AARP Illinois and other groups. 

The latest wins follow our successful lobbying last year against utility hikes in Colorado and Indiana and our push for an additional $57 million for home energy assistance in Massachusetts. We also backed a new law to avoid utility shutoffs in New Jersey

The average cost of home heating in the U.S. this winter has jumped 12.7 percent compared to last year, the highest increase in 10 years, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association

The rising prices are especially burdensome to older adults, who are more likely to be on fixed incomes. An AARP study found that roughly half of the 3.3 million households that couldn’t afford heating fuel, electricity or natural gas were headed by someone 50 or older.
Read more about our state advocacy and how to cover rising utility bills this winter.

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