ALBANY - Legislation to help protect AARP members from unfair utility hikes has stalled in the state Senate.

AARP says New York is one of only 10 states that does not have a consumer advocate office to fight unfair utility hikes. The bill would help create a New York State Utility Consumer Watchdog.

The utility consumer advocate would be appointed by the governor for a six-year term. The advocate would be independent and allowed to intervene in every area, including setting rates.

Many utility customers say their electric usage is costing them more than ever. AARP says that Long Island residents are paying the second highest rates in the nation.

The bill has already passed in the state Assembly, but no decision has been made in the Senate. AARP members on Long Island are pushing for passage before lawmakers leave Albany next week.