In a recent survey by Accenture 76 percent of consumers said they did not trust their utility and 70 percent said they would consider a provider other than the utility for energy services if they could. T to read more about the study go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/consumer-trust-in-utilities-continues-to-nosedive. Increasing outages and higher rates have lead numerous states to form watch dog groups. The AARP is heading heading up many of these efforts. Senior Citizens, those individual on fixed incomes are especially vulnerable to the financial hardship that comes with increased utility costs. Seniors also are often the most adversely effected to outages caused by the recent storms and the increasing failures of utilities to maintain their grid power and meet demand.
As utilities grapple with infrastructure problem and loss of revenue from the recent super storm Sandy, they are efforting to pass these costs on to consumers. AARP has organized rallies at the state Capitol and has been encouraged volunteers to contact their representative to press for better service and lower rates. The new law allows gas utilities to circumvent rate limits and levy a surcharge of up to $2 per customer per month for up to 5 years for for line replacement work. According to the utility some of the existing main gas lines are reportedly over 50 years old.
See more at: http://states.aarp.org/citizen-corps-fights-utility-rate-hikes/#sthash.BBcPOhgy.dpuf
The AARP has been lobbying Albany to establish a consumer advocate to protect consumers against the utilities and fight against such rate increases. New York is one of the few states without such consumer protection.
Get active go to AARP and join a utility watchdog group.