Long Island's 50+ Looking for Strong Utility Consumer Advocate as Gov. Cuomo Calls for Overhaul of LIPA, AARP Survey Finds

Majority of Long Islanders Disappointed by LIPA's Post-Sandy Recovery, Say Elected Officials Not Doing Enough to Help Fight Soaring Energy Bills

May 03, 2013, 11:19 ET from AARP New York State

ALBANY, N.Y., May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the possible dismantling of LIPA and future rate hikes looming, Long Islanders age 50+ are backing the creation of a utility watchdog with teeth, according to a survey commissioned by AARP New York.

AARP says establishing an independent utility consumer office in New York, as 40 other states have done, should be part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's effort to clean up the energy industry in the state.

77 percent of poll respondents say they would support an independent consumer advocate office to fight for reasonable residential energy rates and 69 percent say their elected officials aren't doing enough to help fight rising energy costs. 76% of the poll respondents are LIPA customers.

AARP is supporting legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) to create an independent utility consumer advocate office to represent residential ratepayers before New York's utility-regulating Public Service Commission (S4550/A6239).

"New Yorkers already pay some of the highest utility rates in the nation. After disasters, utility companies too often look to pass the cleanup bill onto consumers – and consumers need protections from this," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York.  "AARP commends the Governor for his post-Sandy efforts.  Helping New York consumers to fight right hikes and other complex utility issues by leveling the playing field should be a crucial part of this."

The views of Long Island survey respondents are echoed by the rest of the state, according to a new Siena poll of 18+ commissioned by AARP, in which 75% backed the creation of the advocate office.  

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.  We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org.  AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors.  We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

SOURCE AARP New York State