Utility Costs Need to Be Fair and Affordable

AARP knows many Americans are struggling to pay rising costs for groceries, medicine, healthcare, and heating and cooling their homes. Utility rates are an essential pocketbook issue for all Connecticut residents, especially those 50-plus.

By Nora Duncan

The ability to maintain safe, affordable, and reliable utility services is critical for health and safety. That’s why AARP Connecticut fights against unfair utility rate hikes to ensure residents, including people on moderate, low, or fixed incomes, can afford their utilities.

As utility costs continue to rise, a growing number of Connecticut residents – who already pay the highest electricity rates in the continental United States – are having to choose between food, medicine, and keeping the lights on. Too often, it’s the older residents who must choose between paying their utility bill and other necessities such as prescription medicine.

AARP is the largest consumer advocacy organization in Connecticut that is fighting to save you money on your utility bills. For years – including this one – our staff and volunteers have advocated for consumer protections and fair rates at the state legislature and at the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). For many years and on numerous rate increase cases, AARP Connecticut has urged PURA to deny expensive and harmful proposals to ensure utility companies receive only what is fair and reasonable – and not a dime more.

Our priorities on utility issues for the 2024 legislative session have included advocating against policies that will drive up the cost of standard electric service and weaken any of the strong consumer protections in the third-party electric supplier market and advocating for consumer protections in the solar industry, and increased funding and expanded eligibility for energy assistance programs above the current levels to meet the needs of residents already challenged by inflation.

In recent months, AARP Connecticut has testified before the PURA in public hearings and submitted multiple petitions signed by thousands and thousands of residents opposing rate increase requests by many of the state’s utility providers. We have helped secure victories in recent rate cases across multiple utilities. Find news about our recent petitions and learn more about our advocacy work to help provide residents with fair and affordable access to vital electricity, water, and internet services by visiting our web site at www.aarp.org/ct.

In addition, there are various assistance programs that can help residents with utility costs, provide tips and resources to reduce energy consumption in the home, and help better understand electric bills. Learn about the different programs, eligibility, how to contact each, and more in stories on our web site. In addition to web site stories, explore our videos and posts about energy costs on www.facebook.com/aarpct and www.youtube.com/aarpct.

AARP volunteers can share their wisdom; benefit from training and education; enjoy stimulating challenges; meet new people; and know that they are truly making a difference. Explore our volunteering opportunities at www.aarp.org/volunteer or by contacting Marlisa Smith at mesmith@aarp.org or 860-548-3171. Learn about becoming an e-advocate volunteer at www.aarp.org/getinvolved.

Nora Duncan is the state director for AARP Connecticut.