FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2012
Contact: Josh Rosenblum
New AARP Report: Utility Surcharges, Fees Frustrate Consumers and Short Cut Consumer Protections
Recommends Consumer Safeguards to Stop Unjust Rate Increases
En Español| New Orleans, LA– AARP today released the new report Increasing Use of Surcharges on Consumer Utility Bills, which reveals how the increased use of fee and surcharge devices, burden consumer utility bills and short cut essential rate protections. The detailed report also lays out recommended consumer safeguards state utility regulators and lawmakers should put in place to prevent unjust rate increases disguised as necessary surcharges or fees.
“AARP’s new report demonstrates why we continue urging state regulators and lawmakers to deny consumer protection loopholes, such as fees and surcharges,” said Elaine Ryan, AARP’s Vice President for State Advocacy and Strategy. “In the past surcharges on our utility bills were permitted only in limited circumstances for costs that were substantial, volatile and uncontrollable but today these types of charges are becoming commonplace.”
Increasing Use of Surcharges on Consumer Utility Bills, released at the National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC), explains how the departure from a well-analyzed rate increase procedure to a hurried process with limited review by regulators could put consumers at risk. The report also includes the specific justifications utility companies use to push surcharges past regulators and information about why these claims are so often invalid. Additionally featured are failed surcharge attempts and some of the many surcharges and fees consumers face today.
Since the launch of its Multi-State Utility Campaign in January of 2011, AARP has seen tremendous success in home energy savings for American families, with approximately 10.4 million 50+ customers benefiting from AARP’s efforts on home energy affordability and $441 million in home energy savings as the result of AARP’s efforts in 2012 alone.
“AARP has been fighting to stop utility companies from unjustifiably increasing utility bills for over 20 years, and this report is our latest effort to stop them from burdening their customers with numerous fees added to the bottom line of bills,” added Ryan. “This issue remains important to our members because affordable power to light, heat and cool our homes can often mean the difference between life and death for older Americans.”
For the full report please visit AARP here.
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 nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; 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.