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Higher electric bills are one more blow to battered consumers

Electricity bills to jump | Nov. 13, story

One more blow to battered consumers

Thanks, PSC. Aren't you supposed to work for us, the consumers? Aren't you supposed to look out for our bottom line, not the corporation's? Are we seeing a rate increase to pay for the nuclear plant in Levy County, which won't be ready for nearly a decade?

Are we, in essence, subsidizing private corporations with our money so they can pay more to their shareholders? It seems we're bailing out both Wall Street and the energy industry.

Gov. Charlie Crist, where are you on this, and why aren't you fighting for people on fixed incomes and those out of work (unemployment just hit the highest mark since 9/11)?

Forget the lower gas prices. I might be able to drive around more, I just can't afford to pay my bills when I get home!

Ron Thuemler, Tampa

Change the law

According to the Florida Public Service Commission's own Web site — — their "role" is "making sure that Florida's consumers receive some of their most essential services," including electricity, "in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner."

A 25 percent rate hike is affordable?

In the Times article, it was stated that Commissioner Nancy Argenziano "said she voted to approve the increases because the law left her little choice."

If this is really true, then the law should immediately be changed.

Both state and local lawmakers apparently think that money grows on trees, because they sure haven't done very much to help their citizens. Property taxes and homeowners' insurance still haven't "dropped like a rock." Food prices are outrageous; cable TV and telephone costs have risen, along with other things.

We can't afford any more, period.

I hope that at least one of our lawmakers can find their backbone and will stand up for us and put up a fight.

Lynne Shelby, St. Petersburg

Electricity bills to jump | Nov. 13, story

Government's purpose has been distorted

Ah yes, another government misnomer: "The Public Service Commission," which does not serve the public.

It unanimously votes to raise consumers' electricity bills as much as 25 percent. How does that serve the public? Or perhaps the better question is: Which public is the commission serving?

Commissioner Nancy Argenziano tells consumers who ask why she voted to raise the rates: "Because we have to." And when asked, "Why do you have to?" she says, "The law made me do it."

I'm wondering who wrote the law in such a way that the public service commissioners don't have any opportunity to serve the public, only the utilities.

Our government seems overrun with euphemisms. Ethics commissions with no ethicists, public service commissions restrained by law to vote against the public.

This is an outrage. It is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue, it is an issue of who distorted the purpose of government.

Mortimer Brown, Lutz

Electricity bills to jump | Nov. 13, story

Public is not served

Why is the Public Service Commission, the unit given the responsibility to control utility bill increases, called the "Public" anything? They sure don't represent the public or else they wouldn't have allowed the power companies to raise our rates to pay for fuel charges when the price of oil is now back to where it was in 2005. These people, who were, for the most part, appointed by Jeb Bush, show no concern for the average Florida resident.

They have allowed Progress Energy to raise our rates to pay for a nuclear plant that will not be on line until well after I am dead, and then they added insult to injury by allowing them to add more for fuel costs that have actually gone down. Yet Progress Energy, which is really a North Carolina company, was able to give the president of their Florida subsidiary a million- dollar raise this year. Why don't they lower his salary to that of the president of the United States and give the more than a million and a half dollars back to the consumers?

Ironically, after much effort by our politicians, my real estate taxes went down by almost $200 for the year while, thanks to the same politicians, my power bill will go up by more that $800. So I'm out more than $600. Yet the incumbents were re-elected — although not by me.

Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor

Having Down's baby a choice, not heroics Nov. 11, commentary

When the state decides

Thank you for this thoughtful article and its reminder to look at history when considering controversial issues. In the 1927 Supreme Court decision referred to, the court upheld a law prohibiting a young woman from having children because she was "the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring."

Before the Supreme Court later ruled that the privacy protections of the Bill of Rights restrain the power of the states to interfere in personal reproductive rights, it was assumed that the states had the power to decide whether or not a woman could have a baby. Therefore, the states enacted laws that required a woman to have a child even if she did not want to, as well as laws that prohibited a woman from having a child even if she did want to. The danger of ceding to the government the decision (choice) about whether or not a woman can have a child is that it may decide not only that she must but also that she cannot. (See China.)

Ed Bradley, Lithia

Seek commonsense alternatives in gun laws Nov. 11, letter

An emotional subject

The idea offered by the letter writer has great merit. However, the subject of firearms seems to be beyond common sense. Both sides of the issue become far too emotional, somewhat similar to a political or religious debate. I am not 100 percent in agreement with everything the NRA says, but I do agree with the majority of their positions. I would love it if common sense and sanity would prevail on these issues. Unfortunately I fear hysteria on both sides will be the result. Everybody has an opinion, and they are entitled to it — even if it makes no sense at all.

Overly restrictive gun laws encourage even law-abiding people to break them. The cliche so often bandied about, "If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns," is undeniably true.

Steve Korn, Seminole

Fear of a firearm ban fuels gun sales | Nov. 8, story

The fallout of fear

Are the folks who are desperate to purchase guns afraid of an Obama administration, or are they fearful that Bush/Cheney, et al., have done such a horrible job of running the country that we're on the verge of an economic apocalypse?

And I wonder, too, whether the fear stalking our economy is an unintended consequence of the manipulative use of fear for the last seven years by the Republicans. Just wondering.

Mark W. Brandt, Dunedin

Higher electric bills are one more blow to battered consumers 11/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:47pm]
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