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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AARP asks members to contact ACC

AARP FILES IN OPPOSITION TO ELECTRIC DEREGULATION
-ACC Expected to Consider Deregulation
of State’s Electricity Industry in Fall-

(Phoenix, AZ)  -- AARP this week filed comments with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in opposition to proposed deregulation of the state’s electrical utility industry.  AARP urged commissioners not to deregulate, sighting little benefit to residential users and deregulation potentially resulting in higher residential rates.

“Deregulation won’t mean lower rates, it may mean paying more for power for many Arizonans,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director.  “This is evidenced by many people in deregulated states paying higher rates for their electricity after deregulation.  Arizona’s residential electrical rates are already below the national average.  With our hot temperatures why gamble with the pocketbooks and safety of Arizonans through deregulation? In our state we’ve never suffered a shortage of electrical generation and our low utility rates are attractive to businesses.”   

In its written response, AARP also stated that costs to implement the restructuring of the electric utility industry would be significant and would be ultimately passed onto rate payers. 

Implementation costs associated with deregulation would include licensing, billing, and paying existing utilities’ huge financial obligations for large-scale investments made under the current regulated system.  If these obligations are passed onto ratepayers, so-called “stranded” costs would greatly reduce any residential savings.

AARP recommends the Commission focus on implementing current Arizona law that requires oversight of utilities to ensure “just and reasonable” rates for essential electricity service. “Our current system of regulation of utilities has actually produced power for residences at below the national average cost,” said Mitchell.

“In addition to seeing higher rates and implementation costs, some consumers in deregulated states have been subjected to unfair and deceptive marketing practices,” added Mitchell.  “AARP believes under deregulation, Arizonans could experience marketing abuses including pressure tactics, high termination fees and misrepresentation of contract terms.”

The Arizona Corporation Commission is currently reviewing submitted comments on deregulation and is expected to decide whether to proceed sometime this fall.

AARP is asking consumers to contact the Arizona Corporation Commission through email, letter or phone and urge them to reject risky deregulation of Arizona’s existing electric utility industry. 

To contact the Arizona Corporation Commission, call toll free (800) 635-1912 or email at http://www.azcc.gov/ .
                              
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a bilingual news source.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.

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