Distressed about rates

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:15

    To the editor: I had the opportunity to go to the meeting regarding the raise in rates to Pike County residents. It was very distressing to see the number of people who were concerned about not being able to meet the cost of the new rates: people on fixed incomes facing a 129% increase in the electricity with only a 4% increase in their Social Security; businesses who stated that they could not continue to operate should a remedy not be found; real estate brokers who were concerned that housing sales and values would fall significantly if this problem could not be handled; just plain folks with mates and children and houses and jobs in Milford who, once the numbers were crunched, knew they could not make it. One shop owner stated that she would never have considered opening a business in Milford had she known that she would face these huge electric bills. It was very distressing, but what was even more distressing was to watch citizens of the Commonwealth and America having to come to a meeting with their hats in their hands and only to hear the Public Utilities Commission members prefacing all possible solutions with the phrase “Don’t get your hopes up.” This is not the America that I was raised in or knew in any way. As American citizens we should be treated as such. This is not a case of a bunch of low-lifes crying because they don’t have the money. These are members of the community who work and contribute to Milford. These are recognizable faces. These are my neighbors and shop keeps and service providers. These are my friends. What I was most struck by was how little the panel seemed to be able to do. The remark that “We can’t twist the power company’s arm to help or roll back these rates.” The citizens in that room are the goose that laid the golden egg for deregulated companies like Pike County Electric and just as in the children’s story those same companies seem hell bent on cutting our throats. As I walked away from the meeting I couldn’t help but ask the question, “Who speaks for us? More importantly, where is our outrage?” Jim Belcher Milford