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Fighting to Save You Money on Your Utility Bills

In recent years, New York’s utility prices have been among the highest in the nation. Electricity customers in New York pay, on average, $185 more annually than residents in other states. These rates are the third highest in the nation, second only to Hawaii and Connecticut.

In recent years, New York’s utility prices have been among the highest in the nation. Electricity customers in New York pay, on average, $185 more annually than residents in other states. These rates are the third highest in the nation, second only to Hawaii and Connecticut.

See Also: Expensive Electricity

An AARP survey conducted earlier this year revealed that 40% of New Yorkers age 50 and older have difficulty paying their monthly electric bills. Older New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by high utility rates because they spend a higher percentage of their overall household budgets on energy costs.

AARP believes so many New Yorkers have difficulty paying for their utility services because of several factors including the state’s high wholesale electricity prices, which are volatile and may be subject to manipulation. There are economic reasons as well including high unemployment rates, reduced household incomes, and reduced retirement incomes and savings due to the recession and the downturn in interest rates.

According to a March 2011 AARP New York report titled "The Quiet Blackout - New York’s Utility Termination Storm", an average of 36 residential ratepayers every hour of every day lost their electrical and/or gas service for non-payment in 2010. Together, terminations for residential ratepayers in 2010 totaled 321,995.

“The staggering number of shutoffs and people struggling to pay their bills provide ample grounds for the governor and state legislature to revisit New York’s policies supporting continuous utility service for residential customers and to re-examine whether we have sufficient consumer protection laws on our books,” says Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. “It is unacceptable that so many people are losing the ability to turn on their lights or to heat their homes in the winter.”

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