Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Letters: Duke shareholder ashamed of the Public Services Commission's actions

Turned into chumps of the power company | Oct. 20

Ashamed of the PSC's actions

I am a small owner of shares in Duke Energy and am ashamed. Robert Trigaux's excellent column in the Times shows how shareholders like myself were given a light tap on the knuckles while Duke's customers were whipsawed by the Public Service Commission.

Have the commissioners no conscience or are they bought?

Tom Pickard, Dunedin

Turned into chumps of the power company | Oct. 20

Duke was given a license to steal

The Public "Service" Commission has decreed that I shall enrich the owners of Progress Energy (now Duke Energy), not only by forcing me to buy their product for a guaranteed profit, but by purchasing, for them, a whole new plant to be built, or not, in the indefinite future. This plant will be their asset for producing further profit by selling its output to me for more than my expense of creating it, thus earning a double profit distributable to stockholder-owners (minus the unconscionable salaries and bonuses distributed to its top management for engineering such a cunning scam).

Honest capital is raised by selling a promise to pay back new lenders with interest, or by promising future dividends to new stockholders, from the increased profits earned by the new capital. But the PSC is permitting the corporation to simply extort that capital from me and my fellow captive customers, who may realize nothing from our investment from a facility that may not ever be built.

That isn't free-enterprise capitalism. It's not even socialism, for we suckers then would have some kind of ownership interest — say, in the form of lower electric rates. No, it is state/corporate conspiracy to steal from the helpless. The Public "Service" Commission gave Duke Energy permission to steal $3.45 from each one of us every month for the next five years, with a bump up to $23.47 after that forever.

Duke Energy's stock is selling at around $66. If I must pay $3.45 extra on my bill why not credit me with 3.45/66th of a share of Duke each month? By 2018 I'll possibly own more than three shares, then when I'm paying $23.47 extra per month, depending on the share price I might be forced to buy a whole share every three months, which I can either keep for the dividends or sell to get some of my money back. That's forced capitalism, but it's better than nothing.

Is what's happened even constitutional? Can the state force me to buy assets for the benefit of owners of a private corporation?

Bud Tritschler, Clearwater

Turned into chumps of the power company | Oct. 20

The customers were sacrificed

Duke Energy is the largest utility owner in the United States, according to Bloomberg.

One key to their success: get customers to pay for their company's bad business decisions. Protect the shareholders.

Thanks to a 4-1 vote by the Florida Public Service Commission, Duke's customers will foot $3.2 billion of Duke's problems. "Public Service" to whom, you may ask?

Part of the PSC mandate is "…competitive market oversight… ." Where does that fit when regulators give a for-profit company relief by making its customers pay?

Appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Senate, so not a word from our Legislature as voters are Publicly Sacrificed Consumers (PSC). At last we have an agency with an acronym we can understand, and actually does what it says.

Next time you get a chance, remember that you get what you vote for.

William Patterson, Treasure Island

Turned into chumps of the power company | Oct. 20

Remember this in the voting booth

How long will we put up with this ridiculous charade of a Public Service Commission? How long will we put up with the self-serving politicians in Tallahassee? They will be with us until you, the voters, show up at election time and make changes.

The Public Service Commission is appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. Einstein's definition of insanity applies here: doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

Incumbents will certainly have lots of money to impress you with colorful brochures lauding their inflated and often bogus accomplishments. But please remember the legislative puppets.

The Tallahassee politicians had the opportunity last year to repeal the advanced fee law but had no interest in doing it.

If you re-elect these people next year, either by voting them back into office or not showing up to vote, don't complain, just pay your power bill.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

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