Oil traders get scrutiny for murky role in prices | June 19
Prices will correct themselves
I enjoyed your article on oil speculators and their role in inflating the price of oil and share the opinion that speculation is responsible for a decent part of the manic increase that we have seen in the price of gas over the last year.
The good news for consumers is that eventually the price of anything that is driven artificially high will naturally correct itself (think tech stocks in the late 1990s and house prices over the last couple of years). Speculators can only make money when prices are moving (in either direction), and with everyone piling into oil speculation, sooner or later, the prices will be so far removed from where supply and demand would naturally have the price, that the bubble will burst.
I guess the secret is to not be left holding the bag when that happens. I myself would not be invested in any fund right now that is speculating on the price of oil to continue to rise (especially when it seems obvious already that speculation has driven the price of oil much higher than natural market forces would have it).
Marty Richardson, Safety Harbor
Progress Energy's fuel surcharge hike
Are we being gouged here?
With the proposed fuel surcharge hike by Progress Energy and with the already high lump sum surcharges that Progress Energy Florida charges, how do consumers ever know what the real fuel costs are? Do we all have to invest in Progress Energy stock to hedge the already ridiculous fuel surcharge rates with stock dividends?
On my bill this month, the fuel surcharge that Progress Energy is tacking on to the kilowatt hour charges for energy use is already 80 percent of the actual charge for electricity. This month we have been away a good part of the time and not really used much electricity, but the charge for electricity use is $83.80. But the surcharge for fuel adds $66.64 onto the bill (80 percent of the actual electrical use).
If I read your recent article correctly, the proposed increase to fuel surcharges are $8.31 per 1,000 kilowatt hours. We are already paying a fuel surcharge of $4.278 to $5.278 per 1,000 KWH. That will increase our bills by way more than 18 percent. In fact, we would be paying more for fuel than for electricity use.
Progress Energy is also proposing to raise the rates in North Carolina by 16 percent ($424-million more for the state). They say that they are just passing on the actual fuel cost, but something doesn't pass the smell test. Are we being gouged?
Sandy Hutton, Belleair
FPL goal: 3 solar plants in 2009 | June 26
Finally, a push for solar power
Chills ran up and down my spine. I was so excited to read about FPL electric company plans to build three solar-powered plants. It reminded me of when World War II and B-25 bombers bombed Tokyo. We had finally started our offensive with a bold move. I was thrilled to hear that we are finally starting our offensive in this war against fossil fuels. It's about time!
We have the science and technology. All we need is that extra push and it will snowball. God bless America. I've waited a long time for this wonderful feeling. Let's roll up our sleeves and "go for it!"
Joe Cortellini, Palm Harbor