STATE — AARP New Jersey is strongly critical of Senate Bill 2664, legislation proposed by Sen. Raymond Lesniak and Asm. Joseph Cryan that could leave state residents paying more to telephone and cable companies.
“Senate Bill 2664, deceptively named the ‘Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act’ which removes regulations for these services, could leave consumers virtually defenseless against their cost and quality of service,” the senior advocacy group warned.
According to an AARP survey over two-thirds of older Americans struggle with paying utilities. In addition, over 70% of older New Jerseyans still use landlines; for many, it is their only method of communication.
A report released by two public interest groups noted that 17 out of 20 states had phone rate increases — some as high as 100 percent per year — after passing similar deregulation measures.
Verizon CEO Dennis Bone made a late pitch for the bill promising not to raise elder residents’ phone rates for at least two years, but it was pulled from the legislative agenda on Monday following a campaign by 23 consumer advocate groups opposed to the deregulation plan. The bill is expected to receive further consideration in the Senate in April.
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