The Idaho AARP now says it'll push for establishing a new state consumer utility advocate during the legislative session that starts in January, after the idea was passed over in revisions to the Idaho Energy Plan recently approved by a joint legislative committee. “It's clear whose voice was heard and whose wasn't,” said Jim Wordelman, state director for AARP in Idaho. “Idaho utility companies were really the only ones opposed to creating a stronger voice and presence for consumers by establishing an office to advocate on their behalf.” The senior citizens group wants a consumer advocate office to advocate for consumers in rate cases before the Public Utilities Commission and the courts; Idaho is the only western state that doesn't have one.
A motion in the Energy, Environment and Technology Interim Committee to explore the concept as part of the state's energy plan revisions failed on an 8-4 vote. “We are disappointed to say the least,” Wordelman said, who noted that numerous AARP members submitted comments to the panel supporting the idea. “AARP will revisit the creation of the consumer advocate office in the upcoming legislative session. We only hope the legislature will be more responsive to the needs of Idaho's residential consumers and small businesses.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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