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Help Keep the Lights On: Vermonters' Opinions of an Electricity Assistance Program

Over half of Vermonters say their electric bills have increased over the last three years and a third say it is difficult for them or someone they know to pay their electric bills. This report of a June 2006 AARP telephone survey examines the experience of Vermont residents with rising utility rates, their opinions on winter shut-offs, and their support for a low-income energy assistance program.

Of those surveyed...

  • Almost 8 in 10 are concerned about being able to pay for future electric bills.
  • More than 8 in 10 support protections for utility customers who have not paid their bills.
  • More than 8 in 10 support a low-income energy assistance program, and more than three-quarters support such a program, even if they had to pay an additional $1.25 per month on their electric bill.
  • More than 7 in 10 believe all utility customers (including business, industrial, and commercial users) should contribute to a low-income assistance program.
  • Almost 9 in 10 agree that utility companies should not be allowed to shut off service to low-income customers during winter months; almost as many (85%) agree that shut-offs in winter for any customer should not be allowed.

During June 2006, a telephone survey of 300 Vermont residents age 18 and older was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research. Katherine Bridges managed the project and wrote the report with assistance from Cassandra Burton. For more information, contact Katherine Bridges at 207-899-2094. (14 pages)