AARP, Community Advocates Press Utah Public Service Commission to Reduce Rocky Mountain Power Rates

Posted on 09/17/20

Utility Bill Money Picture

AARP Utah joined today with consumer and community organizations to call on the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Rocky Mountain Power’s (RMP) rate increase request and instead support lower rates for customers as recommended by the Utah Office of Consumer Services. The RMP proposal currently before the PSC would raise electric rates $95 million annually beginning in 2021, resulting in a 7% increase in residential electric bills.

AARP Utah, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, Crossroads Urban Center, Action Utah, Utahns Against Hunger, Utah Housing Coalition, and the Community Action Partnership of Utah are urging the PSC to keep electric rates affordable for Utah customers. The groups are echoing recent testimony from the Office of Consumer Services—Utah’s utility consumer advocate—that showed the rate of increase is not justified and that rates should be decreased by $59 million.

“RMP’s proposed hikes are unjustified to Utah’s residential electric customers, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy,” said AARP Utah State Director Alan Ormsby. “The increase is being driven in large part by a request from RMP for an unreasonably high rate of profit. AARP has a long history of fighting to prevent unfair utility rate hikes so Utahns 50 and older can keep more of the money they’ve earned. We will be contacting our 226,000 Utah members and urging them to tell the PSC to reject the RMP proposal.”

“Rocky Mountain Power provides a critical resource for the health and safety of Utah's families.  Any increases in cost for that resource has direct impacts on the dignity and sanctity of human lives,” said Jean Hill of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. “We urge the PSC to judge their economic decisions on these impacts and lower rates to ensure vulnerable families are not forced to sacrifice even further this winter to keep the lights on.”

“72% of Utah’s renters are extremely cost burdened by paying more than 50% of their income to housing and utilities. The proposed rate increase by RMP will mean more people will have to choose between being evicted, foreclosed, or shutoff. At a time when Utah’s tenants and homeowners are struggling to pay their rent, mortgages and utilities, the Utah Housing Coalition does not believe a rate increase is appropriate,” said Tara Rollins, Executive Director Utah Housing Coalition.  

“The families we serve at our thrift store and food pantry are already struggling to pay rent in the face of historic unemployment rates and rising food prices,” said Bill Tibbitts of the Crossroad Urban Center. “If it is approved, this rate increase would force some of those families into homelessness.”

“Community Action Partnership of Utah is concerned by the rate increase being proposed by Rocky Mountain Power. Community Action Agencies in our statewide association work to reduce the energy burden that low and moderate income households face. This rate hike is contrary to this work and creates unnecessary hardships on Utah's most vulnerable community members. We urge the Public Service Commission to reject this proposal,” said Clint Cottam, Executive Director of the Community Action Partnership of Utah.

AARP is calling on its members who are RMP electric customers to contact the PSC and urge the commissioners to reject the rate increase. Customers concerned about the proposed rate hikes can email the PSC by visiting action.aarp.org/RMP

This story is provided by AARP Utah. Visit the AARP Utah page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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