Owing in large part to the thousands of New Jerseyans who cared enough to respond to AARP's call to action regarding Senate Bill 2664, a potentially dangerous bill has temporarily been tabled.
This, once again, attests to the power we wield when we become engaged, take action, and allow our voices to be heard.
To all of you who participated in this important campaign so far, we thank you and congratulate you. However, there's more to be done. While we have indeed won this initial battle, S-2664 will come up for vote again in April and AARP continues to urge our Senators across the state to vote NO when it does.
Let's review why AARP and our like-minded collaborators, who have been working side-by-side with us on this issue, feel so strongly that S-2664 must be stopped in its tracks.
S-2664 would "deregulate" cable and telephone services. As a consumer, your ability to contest rate increases, poor service quality or unexplained charges on your bill would be greatly impacted.
The fact is that 85% of states that enacted similar deregulation bills have seen service increases of as much as 63% in only about two years. We know from a recent AARP survey that more than two-thirds of New Jerseyans 50+ already experience difficulty keeping up with their basic utility bills. S-2664 will only make matters worse.
Right now the rates that can be charged for basic landline services are capped. Telephone companies that wish to increase their rates must apply to the Board of Public Utilities. They rarely get their rate requests denied, but the rate increases are moderated. If Senate Bill 2664 passes, services such as basic landline rates could easily skyrocket. This will particularly affect the state's most vulnerable citizens including home-bound individuals, those living with disabilities and, of course, the elderly, most of whom still rely on a landline telephone.
This is why AARP once again asks you to stay in touch with your Senator about this important legislation. Please call your friends and family and urge them to call our action hot line 1-800-844-2272 to speak with their own NJ State Senator about S-2664.
S-2664 is no good for New Jersey. Not now. Not ever.