AARP, Community Advocates Press Utah Public Service Commission to Reduce Rates from Rocky Mountain Power in Utah
Oct 19, 2020, 5:33 PM
AARP Utah is partnering with consumer and community organizations. They want to ask the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Rocky Mountain Power’s (RMP) rate increase request. Instead, they want to support lower rates for customers as recommended by the Utah Office of Consumer Services. Rocky Mountain Power wants to raise electricity rates by $95 million annually starting in 2021. That would mean a 7% increase in residential electric bills.
Who’s Speaking in Opposition to the Rate Changes from Rocky Mountain Power in Utah
Along with AARP Utah, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, Crossroads Urban Center, Action Utah, Utahns Against Hunger, Utah Housing Coalition, and the Community Action Partnership of Utah are also urging the PSC to keep electric rates affordable for Utah customers. These groups are responding to a recent testimony from the Office of Consumer Services that showed the rate of increase is not justified and that rates should be decreased by $59 million.
Why it’s a Problem
“RMP’s proposed hikes are unjustified to Utah’s residential electric customers. Particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy,” said AARP Utah State Director Alan Ormsby. “AARP has a long history of fighting to prevent unfair utility rate hikes so Utahns 50 and older can keep more of the money they’ve earned. We will be contacting our 226,000 Utah members and urging them to tell the PSC to reject the RMP proposal.”
“Rocky Mountain Power provides a critical resource for the health and safety of Utah’s families. Any increases in cost […] has direct impacts on the dignity and sanctity of human lives,” said Jean Hill of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. “We urge the PSC to judge their economic decisions on these impacts and lower rates to ensure vulnerable families are not forced to sacrifice even further this winter.”
“72% of Utah’s renters are extremely cost-burdened. [They are] paying more than 50% of their income to house and utilities,” said Tara Rollins, Executive Director of Utah Housing Coalition. “Utah’s tenants and homeowners are struggling to pay their rent, mortgages, and utilities. The Utah Housing Coalition does not believe a rate increase is appropriate.”
“The families we serve at our thrift store and food pantry are already struggling to pay rent in the face of historic unemployment rates and rising food prices,” said Bill Tibbitts of the Crossroad Urban Center.
Clint Cottam, Executive Director of the Community Action Partnership of Utah, says they are especially concerned. “This rate hike is contrary to this work and creates unnecessary hardships on Utah’s most vulnerable community members. We urge the Public Service Commission to reject this proposal”
What You Can Do?
AARP is importantly calling on its members who are RMP electric customers to contact the PSC. They want to urge the commissioners to reject the rate increase. Customers concerned about the proposed rate hikes can email the PSC by visiting action.aarp.org/RMP.