AARP’s District of Columbia Office in response to its commitment to ensure affordable electric rates and consumer protections for all residents commissioned two surveys to explore the views of residents age 50+ regarding utility affordability, smart meters, power restoration following outages, and consumer protections.
Like many others around the country, residents in The District of Columbia are concerned with the rising costs of heating and cooling their homes. When utility companies propose rate increases, consumers want their interest protected.
Key findings include:
- The results of this survey show that residents in the District of Columbia age 50 and older are concerned about the rising costs of heating and cooling their homes. In addition, about one-half feel they are paying too much for electricity.
- With regard to some of the remote features of the smart meter technology, more than one-half of residents oppose the utility company making rate plans mandatory. In addition, about three-quarters of District of Columbia residents are opposed to the utility company disconnecting service remotely without a home visit to notify the customer. This opposition remained stable between the two surveys.
- The District of Columbia Public Service Commission has since implemented certain regulatory standards to protect consumers. These new reliability standards seek to reduce the length and frequency of outages. More than seven in ten District of Columbia residents report that electric companies should be penalized if they fail to meet the new reliability standard measures or should be fined if they do not restore power within a reasonable time frame.
- Additionally, nearly two-thirds oppose a $39.7 million rate increase by Pepco for the purposes of improving reliability and replacing aging technology.
AARP commissioned RDD Field Services to conduct the 2012 District of Columbia Utility Survey, a survey of District of Columbia residents age 50 and over. Two surveys were conducted. The first was conducted between March 1 and March 7, 2012. A total of 800 interviews were completed. The second survey was conducted between December 1, 2012 and December 6, 2012, and a total of 500 interviews were completed. For more information, contact Cassandra Burton at 202-434-3547.