Residents board bus for Albany to protest utility bills

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - Dozens of local residents headed to Albany on Tuesday to send a message to lawmakers that something needs to be done about utility bills.

A group sponsored from the American Association of Retired Persons boarded a bus on their quest to urge state senators to pass a bill that would create an independent utility consumer advocate. After a brutal winter, many New Yorkers saw skyrocketing electric bills, with some almost doubling in March.

According to members of the group, setting utility rates is a complicated process, and only those who work for utilities or the Public Service Commission understand how it works. By voicing their concerns today, they hope senators will pass a bill that would allow a watchdog to have a seat at the table when rates and energy policies are being debated, which is something AARP members and many others on fixed incomes support.

"This becomes an important issue when you have people having to make tough choices between being able to heat their home, put food on the table or buy their medications," said Bill Arbruster of the AARP. "This is an issue that also transcends age, culture, diversity. It is something that affects everyone that we need to get a handle on."

State Sen. Joseph Griffo says he agrees with the concept of a consumer advocate.

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