When Rocky Mountain Power filed its proposal to raise rates by $232 million, it was the largest increase they had ever sought in Utah. With the economy reeling and ratepayers already struggling to pay bills, it would’ve created a hardship for people who have little money left over after basic expenses are paid. AARP Utah’s intervention in the case led to a settlement that cut this proposal in half.
Recognizing that rising utility rates are a key concern for consumers across the country, AARP is engaging in a multi-state campaign to fight unfair rate increases, fees, and pricing before state legislatures and Public Service Commissions.
AARP Utah is part of the campaign to make sure ratepayers are protected and their voices are heard. In a July 19th tele-town hall meeting, over 10,000 people participated in a discussion with AARP utilities expert Janee Briesemeister and Utah Office of Consumer Services Director Michele Beck to hear about the rate case and ask questions about what they can do to express their frustration with rising costs. In addition to providing information to callers, AARP gave instructions on how to contact the Utah Public Service Commission and what we were doing to fight the size of the increase.
As in the past, AARP Utah hired attorney Bruce Plenk and utilities expert Charles Johnson to analyze the data submitted by Rocky Mountain Power, provide testimony, offer rebuttals against the arguments presented by the company, and underscore the need to protect low-income consumers. After several rounds of negotiations on how much Rocky Mountain Power could assess as a “customer charge” and what percentage it could raise rates based on usage, a settlement was reached to reduce the proposed increase from $232 million to $117 million. This will result in an average increase of three dollars a month, versus the potential for some ratepayers to have an increase of over $10 per month.
While rate increases are never welcome, AARP Utah fought hard to ensure that key elements of the proposed rate hike were carefully scrutinized by all interested parties.
Stay better informed about future rate cases and learn how to get involved.