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Protecting Residential Utility Customers: AARP Survey of New Jersey Voters

AARP New Jersey commissioned this study to gauge the opinions of registered voters age 45-plus about their experiences with utility companies and their opinions on several utility proposals. The study found that registered voters in New Jersey age 45-plus are concerned about rising utility rates. They support traditional rate making tools including full reviews of utility operations on a regular basis.  Most voters oppose new ways of charging customers for energy such as decoupling rates that separate rates from how much electricity or natural gas a customer actually uses. They also oppose proposals for higher fixed monthly charges such as customer charges. Many support consumer protections such as full and thorough reviews for proposed rate increases, as well as full reviews on a regular basis of the various utility companies operations and earnings.

Key findings include the following:

  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of New Jersey registered voters say that an increase to their utility bills would be a major (41%) or minor (32%) problem.

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) say they oppose decoupling utilities.

  • New Jersey voters oppose projected rate increases for upgrades and maintenance to infrastructure without a complete review of operations and earnings.

The AARP New Jersey Utility Survey was conducted as a telephone survey among registered voters age 45 or older in the state of New Jersey. The survey collected the opinions of New Jersey registered voters on issues related to utility bills, renewable energy, and utility company profits. The interviews were conducted in English by Precision Opinion from September 22nd to October 8th, 2015.  For more information contact Cassandra Cantave at CCantave@aarp.org.

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