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Ceretto: Residents deserve a stronger voice when dealing with utility companies


Wed, May 11th 2016 01:55 pm

Assembly passes measure to create utility consumer advocate

Assemblyman Ceretto, D-Lewiston, announced the Assembly passed legislation that would create a utility consumer advocate to protect residents from what he called unfair rate increases, and to represent their interests in residential utility matters (A.180). New York is one of the few states, and by far the largest, without an independent state agency to back the interests of utility ratepayers.

"The UCA would help level the playing field between powerful utility providers and Western New York families to ensure transparency and accountability at a time when New Yorkers pay some of the highest utility rates in the nation," Ceretto said. "We need to do everything we can to give ratepayers a seat at the table and make sure their voices are heard."

New York's utility consumers are currently represented by the Public Service Commission and the Utility Intervention Unit; however, neither entity is independent, nor has a responsibility to advocate solely on behalf of ratepayers. The Assembly's legislation would protect consumers by creating a utility consumer advocate office to ensure ratepayers are properly represented in regulatory proceedings at both the state and federal level.

"Low-cost power is critical for working families and small businesses in Western New York - but rates are still too high and more needs to be done to protect consumers," Ceretto said. "I strongly urge the State Senate to take up this crucial legislation for the interests of our local ratepayers."

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