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AARP Releases New Utility Survey

See Also: Fighting to Save You Money on Utilities

More than three fourths of those surveyed expressed concern about rising electric rates while 43% say their monthly bill has gone up in the past 12 months, said AARP Oklahoma Volunteer State President Marjorie Lyons.

“Higher gas prices, higher grocery bills and higher health care costs coupled with rising electric rates mean Oklahomans 50+ are having a harder time making ends meet,” Lyons said. “With many older Oklahomans on a fixed income, it’s a pocketbook issue plain and simple.”

The newly released survey, which polled more than 800 Oklahomans, was conducted March 21 to March 28. This survey comes on the heels of a report issued in January that showed just under half of respondents polled had trouble paying their utility bill.

“When the previous study showed so many Oklahomans were having trouble paying their monthly utility bill, it seemed appropriate to dig deeper so that we could better understand how Oklahomans 50+ feel about utility issues. It’s another example of how AARP is in my corner fighting on issues that matter to me and my family,” she said.

According to survey results, 77% of those polled say they oppose legislation allowing electric companies to charge customers an upfront fee for future construction projects while 79% of those polled oppose legislation allowing electric companies to raise their rates to comply with environmental laws that are anticipated, but not yet passed.

“The survey results affirm AARP’s efforts to stop legislation that would result in higher electric rates for consumers,” Lyons said. “I am extremely proud of the work AARP has and continues to do on behalf of consumers when it comes to utility issues.”

Finally, the new survey shows that most 50+ residents in Oklahoma are not familiar with smart meter technology that was adopted by OG&E last year. A smart meter is a new technology that tracks electricity use based on the time it is used. After smart meters are installed, utility company will be able to offer pricing plans which typically charge higher rates for electricity used during peak times.

73% of those surveyed said they oppose electric companies mandating that consumers get their electricity under time-based rate plans.

“AARP opposes charging higher rates during peak times because it unfairly penalizes the elderly and the sick as well as young families who must be home during peak times,” Lyons said.

Survey results indicated that respondents were far less likely to vote for candidates that support legislation allowing electric companies to raise rates to comply with environmental laws that are anticipated but not yet passed or candidates that supported legislation allowing electric companies to charge customers upfront for planning, pre-construction and construction of new power plants.

According to results, 77% of respondents said they either always vote or vote most of the time in Oklahoma elections.