State needs a consumer advocate to push for a thorough review of rate increases

March 24, 2014 Off By administrator

State needs a consumer advocate to push for a thorough review of rate increases
Article from Buffalo News:

New Yorkers pay among the highest residential electric rates in the continental United States. And yet, consumers have no one to advocate for lower rates. On the other hand, utilities have plenty of lawyers and experts able to “prove” the need for higher rates.

The saddest thing about this arrangement is that the customers end up paying utilities to push for higher rates.

That’s right. New Yorkers actually pay the expenses utilities incur justifying rate increases and advancing utility interests in regulatory matters. Those costs are included in the rates the utilities charge. Ratepayers are paying to propose and defend increases in their own bills.

Of the utility companies that serve most Western New Yorkers, National Grid charged its ratepayers an average of more than $ 4.5 million a year to represent the company’s interests before the state Public Service Commission, National Fuel Gas passed on nearly $ 1 million annually and New York State Electric & Gas billed its customers nearly $ 370,000 per year.

This situation was underscored in AARP’s report, “David v. Goliath: Why consumers are losing New York’s utility game.” New York has no independent advocate with the power to seek judicial review of a regulatory agency decision.

Legislators should make that happen and the governor, whose Moreland Commission addressed this very defici…………………continues on Buffalo News
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Consumer Protection Gets Ahead
Article from Beijing Review:

CRACKDOWN ON COUNTERFEITING: Industrial and commercial authorities destroy shoddily made imitation products in Dachang Hui Autonomous County, Hebei Province (LIU LIANG)

Li Haiping, a website editor, felt relieved when China Central Television (CCTV) finally exposed Nikon’s flawed D600 cameras on its annual March 15 Consumer Rights Day Gala, a television show.

“Those who ignore consumers’ sentiments are bound to stew in their own juices. The revelation will definitely deal a heavy blow to the Japanese electronics manufacturer,” said Li.

In October 2012, one of Li’s friends bought a Nikon D600, but soon found an accumulation of dust on its image sensor. Since Nikon’s aftersales service personnel refused to repair it, Li related his friend’s story on the website. To his surprise, a great many netizens shared similar experiences. In a concerted effort, they filed an allegation to the China Consumer Association (CCA) and sought support from influential media outlets such as CCTV.

“The exposure proved that what we did aroused CCTV’s attention,”…………………continues on Beijing Review
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