Summer is here, and for most parts of the country, it’s predicted to be a hot one. Once again, we’ll hover in air-conditioned homes, offices, coffee shops, and shopping malls. And all of that comes with a cost – a big cost – in the form of higher monthly electricity bills that anyone on a fixed income will find hard to swallow. The amount that customers spend on electricity for their homes is based primarily on how much power they use. That’s why upticks in electricity bills are often tied to changes in outside temperature. The typical U.S. household will spend an average of $426 for electricity this summer, an increase of about 3 percent from last summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. For many retirees, like 84-year-old Lucille Moore of Indianapolis, there just isn’t room in the budget for higher utility costs. “A lot of seniors are on expensive medication, and a lot of them can’t afford to deviate with unexpected (utility) bills like this,” says Moore. An AARP Indiana volunteer and retired electronics factory worker, Moore is already fighting her electricity provider, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., over unexplained recent spikes in her bill. Her electric bill shot up in February to $344, a shocker considering she’s usually charged about $100 a month. Making matters worse for Moore and others in Indianapolis, IPL wants to impose a new monthly charge of $27, up from $17, on nearly every utility customer before they even turn a light on. AARP Indiana is fighting this charge – along with other revenue requests – that would give $97 million a year for IPL. AARP state offices are working hard to save customers, like Lucille, money on their monthly utility bills. Here’s a look at recent activity in a few states:
As we enter the heart of summer, the temperature isn’t the only thing on the rise — utility bills are increasing, too. For seniors especially, keeping cool in these hot summer months isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity for health and safety — one that can be hard to afford for some. As my colleague Joan McCarty of AARP New York simplifies it, “every extra dollar that goes to a utility bill is a dollar less for food and medicine.”
An old proverb says “it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” With apologies to the author, it is just better to keep the lights on.
The 2014 summer cooling season is turning into an expensive and potentially unsafe one for older consumers who live on a fixed income. Though many welcome the heat after a harsh winter, the frigid temperatures of this past winter are causing higher electric bills this summer. Consumers hoping to escape the high utility bills they faced during winter will find little relief.
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 .
Many consumers are happy to say goodbye to the polar vortex that caused frigid temperatures and high home heating bills this past winter. While the memory of bitter cold winter days will fade as warmer weather finally begins to take hold, the ghost of the polar vortex may return in the form of higher home energy prices for the remainder of the year.
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.
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.
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.
From Alaska to Florida - AARP is fighting to save you money on your utility bills and protect reliable utility services, for you. So far, this and last year alone, we kept an estimated $3 billion in the pockets of consumers. And, that savings on your behalf is why we're in this. Whether it's your electricity, gas or phone: In 42 states, we're fighting for affordable, reliable, accessible utility service - for you.
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