AARP and PULP Praise State Budget’s Energy Affordability Measures That Will Provide Low-Income Consumers Relief from Rising Utility Costs

By Beth Finkel, State Director, AARP New York & Laurie Wheelock, Executive Director and Counsel of Public Utility Law Project | May 4, 2023

$400 Million In New Funding Will Address Affordability Issues, Expand Customer Discount Program

“AARP and PULP praise Governor Hochul, the Senate and the Assembly for stepping up for New York consumers by including $400 million in new funding in the 2023-24 State Budget that addresses energy affordability and takes steps toward ensuring the State’s clean energy initiatives are just and reasonable for older New Yorkers, as well as for low-, fixed- and middle-income households, and disadvantaged communities.”

“The $200 million in additional funding for the Energy Affordability Program (EAP) will create a new, expanded discount program to provide electric utility bill relief to nearly 800,000 moderate-income households that don’t currently qualify for the program. This expansion is especially timely as we enter what is expected to be another exceptionally warm cooling season and when far too many New Yorkers are behind on their bills and are facing potential double-digit rate increases. This funding will ease the financial burdens of electric utility customers making less than the state median income.”

“The $200 million allocated for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s EmPower Plus will fund the retrofitting and electrification of 20,000 low-income households, providing new insulation, energy efficient appliances and clean energy technologies. Importantly, households that participate in the EmPower Plus program will receive a guarantee that they will not spend more than 6% of their household income on their electric bill for the lifetime of the home upgrades.”

“AARP and PULP also are gratified that the State will conduct a study and report on the best mechanisms to deliver relief to low-income households and disadvantaged communities under a future ‘cap and invest’ schema. The information gathered by such a study will ensure that financial benefits are distributed equitably and in a manner that is not administratively burdensome for consumers. AARP and PULP will continue to offer support and recommendations for how to address affordability in ways that deliver the greatest impact to vulnerable New Yorkers.”


AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit, or follow @AARPNY on social media.

PULP is New York’s sole independent organization dedicated to empowering and protecting the rights of low-income and fixed-income utility consumers. For 40 years, PULP has educated, advocated and litigated on behalf of affordability, consumer protection and universal access to utilities. To learn more, visit, follow @utilityproject on Twitter, or visit PULP at