AARP Analysis: Expect New York Electric Rates To Be At Least 10% Higher Than Last Summer

Region's rates have already increased more than 6% over last year, higher than predicted national average of 5% - New Yorkers will see double that

Jun 27, 2014, 08:07 ET from AARP New York

NEW YORK, June 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a predicted scorching summer on the way in New York, AARP is making another prediction: soaring electric bills to match soaring temperatures – all just in time for cooling season. 

A new report out today from AARP's Public Policy Institute says that, nationwide, electric bills will likely increase by about 5 percent this summer for residential consumers. In New York, electric rates have already soared to nearly double that, 9.8 percent over last summer's rates. The average for the region is a 6.2 percent increase over this point in last summer.

It all comes down to seemingly just pennies on the dollar, last year New Yorkers summer rates were ¢17.80 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), this year they are already ¢19.56 per kWh– but AARP warns they add up, particularly for older residents and families on budgets. 

"For older consumers, a group prone to heat related illnesses such as heat stroke, high cooling costs could prove fatal – the threat of high bills finds some not turning on their air-conditioning when they should," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. "One thing is clear: our members, the 50plus and indeed most New Yorkers are sick of paying sky-high utility bills to simply stay comfortable, and in many cases healthy."  

In April of 2014, New Yorker's electric rates were already nearly 60 percent higher than the national average. 

This legislative session in New York, AARP pressed for an independent utility consumer advocate, a watchdog which most other states have, to combat unfair rate hikes and represent consumers before the New York Public Service Commission.  The issue passed the Assembly with bipartisan support, and was supported by Senator Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference, but was stonewalled by Senator Dean Skelos and his conference.  

Neighboring Connecticut's independent utility consumer advocate reported saving ratepayers $730 million in 2012 at a cost of $3 million – a 243-1 return on investment. California's advocate reported a 153-1 return. Across the United States, utility consumer advocates save Americans billions of dollars a year.

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