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Your Opinion: Why the disparity in utility rates?

Your Opinion: Why the disparity in utility rates?

January 15th, 2013 by Tim Stallman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Wait a minute. How does this work?

A local rural electric cooperative recently announced that its members will not have to pay a rate increase in 2013. That's nice for them.

But meanwhile, we Ameren customers have had to endure four rate increases in five years. Why the huge disparity?

Not only that but to add insult to injury rural electric cooperative customers pay only 8.11 cents per kilowatt hour. We Ameren customers pay 11.36 cents per KWH most of the year. That's 40 percent more that the rural electric cooperative rate. It ain't fair.

Is this huge difference the result of government subsidies to the rural electric cooperatives over the years? Or is it due to poor management at Ameren? Or is Ameren charging whatever it can get away with?

Why isn't our City Council and state representatives looking into this? They are too busy annexing more area to the city, thinking up more sales taxes, and spending all their time helping Ameren get a new nuke built. At a public meeting on electric rates last summer only about 100 people showed up. There should have been 1,000. All of our City Council, state reps and state senators should have been speaking at that meeting with one unified voice to Public Service Commission and Ameren to lower our rates to the rural electric cooperative rate.

The Public Service Commission should be renamed the Rate Increase Commission or the Ameren Rubberstamp Commission since that's all they ever do.

Why are we being so poorly served by our elected officials? They are supposed to work for us, not against us. Instead of re-electing the same old tired political hacks year after year, we need to put in activists who will oppose rate hikes.

If you don't complain, you deserve whatever you are handed. Organize and fight back.