Deck Remains Stacked Against Individual and Small Business Ratepayers
ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today in response to Governor Kathy Hochul vetoing the Intervenor Funding bill (S.3034-A/A.873-A) that would have leveled the playing field for residential and small business utility consumers during rate hike proceedings before state regulators:
“We are deeply disappointed with the governor’s vetoing of legislation that would have finally provided individual consumers and small business groups an independent and equal place at the table alongside billion-dollar utility companies and large industrial and commercial interests during rate hike proceedings before the state Public Service Commission (PSC).
“For too long a great divide has existed between them and residential and small business consumers who can’t afford the cost of lawyers, consultants and expert witnesses brought to rate hike proceedings by energy producers and big businesses.
“A recent analysis by AARP New York found that New York’s investor-owned utility companies piled up nearly $19 million in expenses for lawyers, consultants, and expert witnesses to make the case for their last respective rate hike proposals before the PSC. That’s according to the companies’ own annual reports.
“And guess who foots that bill? Utility customers do, since that money is added on to the companies’ expenses when the PSC sets new rates paid by customers.
“By vetoing the Intervenor Funding bill, Governor Hochul ensures that the regulatory process fails to function properly by preventing full participation of all parties on an equal playing field that doesn’t tilt in favor of utility companies and large commercial interests.
“AARP New York will continue to work with the Hochul administration and the more than two dozen non-profit organizations who support the bill to get the legislation passed in 2023. Groups of individuals or not-for-profit organizations that represent residential or small business customers deserve the opportunity to apply for the reimbursement of costs to fight proposed rate hikes before state regulators, just as the utility companies do in every rate case.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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