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 by an average of $213. They attended public hearings - often shaking mason jars full of coins to represent their hard-earned savings - sent emails and rallied support. Under a recently announced settlement, Duke's rate request was not fully granted, and customers will see their rates rise 10 percent as opposed to 16 percent.
- Good news in New York - Verizon has decided to rebuild landlines damaged from Superstorm Sandy with fiber optics instead of offering only the wireless option, Voice Link. AARP New York advocated for the continuation of traditional, landline phone service because it is a lifeline for many, especially seniors who count on it for Life Alert, medical monitoring devices, home security systems and emergency services.
After hearing from thousands of AARP members, the Arizona Corporation Commission decided not to move forward with the deregulation of electric services in the state. AARP Arizona fought hard against deregulation efforts because they would have likely led to increased costs for consumers - as evidenced in other states.
In California, Assembly Bill (AB) 327 passed with bipartisan support and now heads to the governor's desk for his signature. The bill will give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the ability to implement fair and reasonable reforms of the state's electric rate structure. According to Katie Hirning, AARP California state director, "AB 327, while allowing the CPUC to update California's electric rate structure, implements strong consumer protections." AARP now urges the governor to sign AB 327 into law.
And, we're still fighting:
- While a win in New York, Voice Link is still in Verizon's plans for New Jersey. AARP has filed a formal request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to investigate Verizon's plan to offer its new wireless Voice Link service instead of traditional landline service.
- AARP New Jersey is also speaking up against a request from PSE&G that would raise rates by $3.9 billion for New Jersey customers. With hearings throughout September and November, state residents are telling the Board of Public Utilites how this rate increase will hurt their families.
- In Alabama, AARP has submitted an application asking the Public Service Commission(PSC) to reconsider their August decision on Alabama Power's profit structure. The decision will not lower rates for Alabamians who already pay some of the highest bills in the South. With the voices of thousands Alabamians ignored by the PSC, AARP is calling upon them to put people before profits.
Follow me on Twitter @RoamTheDomes for more news on utilities across the country. And, to stay up to date on our utilities campaign in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit your state Web page.