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AARP volunteers to rally in Albany against rising utility rates

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - AARP volunteers in the area woke up bright and early Tuesday to take a bus ride to the state capitol.

The purpose behind the trip is to urge state lawmakers to give residential utility consumers a voice. Volunteers boarded a bus at the Community Center on Riverside Drive in Utica Thursday morning.

One of those volunteers making the trip, Gary Olivella says this issue is important for seniors who are on a limited budget and rising electric rates force them to make unfortunate choices.

"What do I do without? Do I deal without my medicine? Do I cut it in half?" Olivella said of some of the questions many seniors have to ask themselves when faced with rising utility costs. "In many cases, I found clients eating cat and dog food. It's a cheap source of protein because I cant afford to go to the grocery store and shop."

According to AARP, New Yorkers pay the highest residential electric rates in the U.S. but are one of the only states without a consumer advocate office.

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