50+ unhappy with utility's Sandy response

Jan. 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A survey by AARP New York said many of the state's residents age 50 and older were unhappy with their power utility's Hurricane Sandy response.

The survey found 86.4 percent of those age 50 and older lost power and nearly three quarters reported being without power for four or more days.

Forty-four percent of this age group said their electric utility's response to Sandy was poor, with another 21 percent stated the response was fair. Electric utilities far outpaced all other utilities in the survey when it came to negative reviews: 10 percent said the response was poor for the Internet; and 11 percent said the response was poor for telephone.

The survey found 29 percent of respondents said their homes were damaged due to Sandy; with 53 percent saying the damage was moderate to severe.

Even though this age group said they had some tough times due to the storm, 56 percent said they, volunteered to help others.

With utility companies in New York now eyeing rate hikes in the wake of the storm, the AARP also found:

-- More than one-quarter reported difficulty paying their electric bill.

-- 69 percent said their elected officials weren't doing enough to protect people from rising energy costs.

-- 77 percent said New York needed to establish an independent consumer advocate office to represent them in rate cases before the Public Service Commission.

No survey details were provided.

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