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Your Opinion: Electric utility surcharge opposed

Your Opinion: Electric utility surcharge opposed

February 19th, 2013 by Tim Stallman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

I don't know how much longer the taxpayers and electricity users of this state can afford to keep Sen. Mike Kehoe in the Senate.

Once again Sen. Kehoe is carrying water for Big Power, such as Ameren, and thus raising your electricity costs.

Sen. Kehoe is proposing to increase your electric costs by sponsoring legislation cunningly called the "Infrastructure Strengthening and Regulatory Streamlining" act (ISRS) SB207, which is nothing more than a sneaky way to raise your electric costs by bypassing normal Public Service Commission (PSC) rules and public notice requirements concerning those rate increases and surcharges.

It will add another brand new unregulated surcharge to your electric bill. More and more of your electric bill will be charged under the surcharge, where the PSC can't directly control it. If this legislation had been in place in the last three years, your electric bill would be 10 percent higher than it is now. He even admitted that at a recent hearing.

He covers this anti-consumer action by claiming that it will create jobs and position the state to "attract high tech jobs." Nothing could be further from the truth. By making it easy to raise electric rates, Missouri will lose jobs because of the uncertain rate environment that this will create.

This bill was crafted by a consortium of big Missouri power companies and you can be sure they do not have the best interests of consumers at heart. This bill guts consumer protections that Big Power has had in its gunsights for decades.

As soon as it was proposed, various supporters of this bill chimed in all the reasons for creating this surcharge, but none of them mentioned the burden on the working class or retired.

Here is another example of how the middle class is being destroyed one law at a time. Every time Big Power can slip a new surcharge through, without public notice or PSC scrutiny, the middle class not only loses money, but also loses a window on how utility rates are set.

When we don't oppose these actions, we are on the road to becoming serfs in our own country.