I received this Op-ed letter from Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford. He’s complaining about this winter’s high electric bills.
Today lawmakers in Frankfort questioned representatives of the Public Service Commission and local energy companies about the rising rates.
This winter is on course to be one on the coldest in Kentucky history.
Magistrate Wayne Flemming told the House Tourism Development and Energy committee that courthouse bill for Letcher County jumped from $9,000 to $22,000.
Here is Judge Rutherford’s letter.
God’s most valuable people are the working class and those on fixed incomes. No one living in America today should be forced to make the difficult decision of whether to eat, buy their medication or keep from freezing to death.
How sad it is to look at the people in Kentucky who can’t afford to pay their power bills.
I predicted this would happen when the Kentucky Public Service Commission granted AEP/Kentucky Power a 17 percent rate increase. The cause of that is simple: greed, poor management and political control. Kentuckians need to make this the main issue in the 2011 governor’s race.
Our rate payers must have relief NOW. The Kentucky General Assembly is in session, they must take up this issue NOW.
Pike County borders some counties in Virginia and their legislature made it possible for their rate payers to get a 20 percent discount. West Virginia also borders Pike County and its public service commission gave residential customers a 2.5 percent reduction.
I realize our legislators know what I know; they are getting the same calls and complaints and even their bills have doubled.
The solution: utility restructuring.
Kentucky must go to an electric bill assistance program. A tier-based system based on gross income. This program can create a rate reduction anywhere from 5 percent to 70 percent. Many states have this “lifeline” system in place. I understand the cost is offset in most states by an average of $1.50 per month assessed on all rate payers.
There are also other options our legislature can consider while in session. One is to ELECT the Kentucky Public Service Commission. The Kentucky Government belongs to the people. The legislature can give our public service commission back to us: “Vote ‘em in” and “Vote ‘em out.”
I called for an investigation by the Kentucky General Assembly when AEP/Kentucky Power installed digital or “smart” meters. Every customer’s power bill went up and every rate payer’s bill spiked. Many states have investigations under way such as Texas, California, Connecticut and Maryland to name a few.
Kentucky’s working class and those on set incomes must have relief NOW!
We all need to pray. I ask for prayers for these people who are the salt of the earth. Pray that our legislators will have the wisdom to understand this hardship and take action.
Wayne T. Rutherford
Pike County Judge-Executive
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