Thursday, November 05, 2009

Consumer Groups Call on Congress and FERC to Protect Consumers and Investigate Rising Utility Costs Due to Deregulation

Consumer groups have issued a joint statement asking Congress and FERC to investigate utility rates set in wholesale markets that are causing hardship to consumers. Their letter states
High electric rates are forcing a growing number of low-income consumers to choose between energy, medicine and health care. **** While there are a number of reasons behind high electricity rates, one major contributor is the deregulated electricity markets. The 42 million consumers in full retail choice states served by Regional Transmission Organizations are being hit hardest – their rates are 55 percent higher than those in regulated states, a gap that has been increasing, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

“At a time when consumers are facing extreme hardships from rising electricity costs and growing numbers face shut-offs, FERC must assure electric rates are just and reasonable.” said Mark Crisson, president of APPA. “The promises of deregulation – competition and lower prices – have not been kept. While energy costs across the country have risen, the electric rates in deregulated markets have climbed faster than the rates in regulated areas.”
Groups signing the statement include
American Public Power Association
National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients
Public Citizen
Alliance for Affordable Energy
Citizen Power
Democracy and Regulation
Empowerment Center of Greater Cleveland, Inc.
Public Utility Law Project of New York, Inc.
TURN* The Utility Reform Network
Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

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