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Floridians can't bear another rate hike

Power bills to bring a shock? | Aug. 30, story

We can't bear another rate hike With so much emphasis on the upcoming presidential election and various hurricanes swirling around, did you happen to catch the fact that Progress Energy Florida wants to raise our electric rates by a whopping 31 percent starting in January 2009?

Your $100 bill becomes $131, and your $300 bill becomes almost $400 overnight. Nice gift to us for the new year. We were also hoping for a break on our property taxes as well. According to my recent proposed tax notice for this year, that's definitely not happening. Merry Christmas!

Now, let's be honest here. We know the price of oil has been high, along with the price of natural gas and coal. We didn't know about the surprising hike in our bills due to the increased price of the nuclear power plant in Levy County. We were expecting a price increase, just not one this high.

What we do know is this: Floridians are hurting. Individuals are hurting, businesses are closing, restaurants are shutting their doors, private schools are scraping to get by, real estate and construction are in the doldrums. If Progress Energy hits customers with this kind of rate hike, it will just further devastate us and the local economy. Besides most people's mortgage/rent and car payments, the electric bill is their third biggest monthly payment. Raising it 31 percent in today's economy is just too much for people to handle.

I certainly implore the Public Service Commission to take a serious look at the proposed rate increase to see if it is truly warranted. It is my hope that they will decide the Florida consumer deserves a break, not an increase that will take us to the breaking point.

Besides, has anyone at Progress Energy noticed that the price of oil has actually gone down from a high of $147 per barrel to under $110 — down 25 percent from its high?

Brett A. Hayman, St. Petersburg

Power bills to bring a shock? | Aug. 30, story

Progress Energy should consider cutting costs

I am appalled by the attitude of the leader of Progress Energy when he comments that people will just have to get used to the high cost of electricity. It's probably fair to say that this 31 percent rate hike request should be entitled "The Hike of Arrogance."

What ever happened to the business model of searching for cost-cutting measures and innovative purchasing policies to offset the increased cost of doing business? Progress Energy's answer seems to be to simply pass it on to the consumer and let them figure out cost cutting measures for themselves.

If every business in our country took the approach of Progress no one would have any money left to spend. Progress needs to ask themselves how large companies like Home Depot and Wal-Mart, to name a couple, manage to lessen the impact of price increases on their customers.

I sincerely hope that state regulators toss this increase back to Progress and demand that they pare down costs to the minimum and then come back for relief. To do otherwise would be unconscionable.

Alan Clarkson, Tarpon Springs

Power bills to bring a shock? | Aug. 30, story

Progress is pillaging

Imagine that, Progress Energy wants to raise rates again. So what's new with that? This time it's for a supposed raise in fuel prices, and let us not forget about the $17-billion dollar money pit (nuclear plant) to supposedly help Floridians for their future power needs.

I am a realist: The cost of business is passed on to customers in one way or another. However, state regulators are not seeing the larger picture, if you ask me. Progress Energy wants to add additional dollars to each of our bills to avoid the company facing higher labor and materials cost down the road. How nice for them.

What if the cost overruns don't happen, what if the fuel cost drops dramatically over the next few years with the influx of new drilling and weakening global demand? Are we going to get a $34 average rebate per month? I wouldn't count on that if I were you.

Why doesn't Progress Energy look in their own backyard and reduce expenses? The consumer has already taken a huge hit with the rising economy. I hope the state regulators wake up and see this for what it is, less of a necessity and more of a pillaging of overwhelmed, overtaxed and fed up consumers!

John C. Luttrell, Clearwater

We need offshore oil

Like many communities across the country, we have all felt the sting of globalization. I worry that things will get worse and the American economy will not keep growing if our energy costs continue to balloon as they have in recent years. Nationally, we have lost 3-million manufacturing jobs since 2000, owing in large part to the lower cost of doing business overseas.

It makes no sense that American energy resources in places like the Gulf of Mexico and off the southern Atlantic coast are off-limits. With gas still nearly $4 per gallon and oil prices around $110 per barrel, our elected leaders are doing nothing to drive energy costs down — and action is needed immediately to maintain the competitiveness of America's industrial sector.

Given the urgency of the situation, Congress must act, and quickly, to open up our offshore American energy resources.

Paige Silva, Tampa

Beware the Big Oil con job

Did you know our government has already leased more than 68-million acres that are ready to drill? Why are we even having a conversation about drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico ?

Lets stop giving in to the demands of giant oil companies and politicians who look after their own interests. Are we not tired of being conned and lied to? If we must drill, let's drill where we are already licensed to drill and stop this nonsense about expanded gulf drilling. And how about reining in the oil speculators? Perhaps that would help.

This is the perfect wake-up call for us to become more energy efficient and focus on clean renewable energy policies, to stop living in the past and to become the leaders the world looks up to once again. Let's discuss what's good for the many and not the few. This is no longer about just politics. This is about our survival.

Bobby Lonardo, Seminole

Rays attendance

Traffic troubles

Joe Maddon and our Tampa Bay Rays have given the bay area a taste of what it's like to have a baseball team good enough to make it to the postseason. Go Rays!

The St. Petersburg Times has questioned whether the bay area fans will support a major league team, i.e., low attendance at the Trop. Sunday's game brought out more than 32,000 fans to see a great major league team. Maybe the problem is the city of St. Petersburg's bush-league traffic control.

It would seem that Tropicana Field is ideally positioned, with its close proximity to the interstate and multiple one-way traffic arteries capable of funneling thousands of vehicles. Can someone explain why these roadways are suddenly bottle-necked into a single lane for fans entering the Trop? The result is long lines, short tempers and many a dinged bumper. This might explain why some folks choose to stay home.

If Tampa can move 70,000 fans into a Bucs game off of Dale Mabry, the sleepy little burg of St. Pete ought to be able to accommodate less than half that at the Trop.

The Rays are now one of the best teams in baseball. Our city planners need to step up to the plate and fix the game-day traffic problem.

Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg

U.S. judge locks up deadbeat dad of 5 | Sept. 3, story

Payment before prison

Although Danny J. Collins ignored court orders time after time for failure to pay child support, it is my opinion that U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday should not have sentenced Collins to a year in federal prison unless it was established that Collins had no means of earning an income.

Collins appeared before Merryday with a check for $5,000 and promised another $10,000 payment after completing a construction job in the Washington, D.C., area. Merryday should have allowed Collins to complete this job and held him responsible for the support payment. Now Michelle Wilder may never see that money, which see needs to help support their 14-year-old son.

Authorities in Washington, D.C., should have been notified and Collins placed under their jurisdiction in a minimum security work release program so he could finish this job and make good on this payment.

But Collins' son and ex-wife are now going to be denied any further income for at least a year and we taxpayers will pay for his everyday upkeep while he sits in a federal prison not generating any income and paying nothing.

Jack Burlakos, Kenneth City

Floridians can't bear another rate hike 09/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 9:59am]
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