Safety Valve: Letters from readers
Friday, November 9, 2012
Tapping the ratepayers
Are you concerned about the 8-percent PUD rate increase? Well, get used to it because Grant PUD has promised the bond rating agencies (Moody’s, Fitch and S&P) an 8-percent rate increase per year up to and including 2015, in return for the AA3 bond rating from Moody’s and Fitch’s AA bond rating. This will be five years of 8-percent rate increases in a row. Part of the rate increases are to build PUD cash reserves to over $200 million to humor the rating agencies.
The rating agencies do have some legitimate concerns about Grant PUD. One of Moody’s concerns is concentration of retail sales to industrial customers. A plant owned by Renewable Energy Corp. is one of district’s top industrial customers and this exposure remains a growing concern given severe stress in the solar panel manufacturing sector and REC’s declining financial performance. Aside from the risk REC poses, this concentration of industrial customers is in part causing upward pressure on rates. As of 2011, the industrial customers in Grant County were consuming 46 percent of the retail power but contributing only 40 percent of the revenue. The other rate classes consuming 54 percent of the power and contributing 60 percent of the revenue. It appears the other classes are subsidizing the industrial customers.
When you look at the rate the average homeowner is paying (about 4.8 cents per kilowatt hour basic rate included) as opposed to the industrial class, (about 3 cents per KWH, plus demand) you can see the industrials are being subsidized. Compare this with Chelan’s residential rate of 3.2 cents per KWH and Douglas’ residential rate of 2.8 cents per KWH. Chelan and Douglas PUDs have protected their residential ratepayers by basing industrial rates on market price and limiting industrial power consumption respectively. The commissioners should be protecting our ratepayers but they’re not.
Support Relay for Life
I am asking for everyone involved in the Chelan Douglas County Relay for Life event (participants, survivors, sponsors, etc.) along with our community, to stand up for our event and our cause. The committee has been dealing with a neighbor, a city council member, who has taken us to the Eastmont School Board to get our event banned from using the Eastmont High School track. That did not change, so now they are taking us to the East Wenatchee City Council to get the current noise ordinance changed to ban having any noise between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. at our event. The biggest issue is being brought before the city council by a city council member who is using their position to get this ordinance changed. We are asking our Relay for Life community to help present our case to the East Wenatchee City Council and let it know how important this event i,s not only to its participants but to our communities. The next East Wenatchee City Council meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the East Wenatchee City Hall. Let’s show them that we can come together for our event and pack this facility.
Be scam savvy
Let us tell you how two neighbors avoided becoming victims of an Internet scam.
We advertised an antique mirror on Craigslist. Within one hour we started receiving hits. We quickly noticed that the inquiries sounded very much alike. This, along with the wording — which sounded foreign — set off our caution buttons.
Within a couple of days, both respondents were requesting to pay by cashiers checks and include funds for pick up and mover’s fees. We said that would have to be handled by the buyer. We told the one respondent that we would not agree to pay the movers anything. They then said they would give us an extra $20 for our running-around trouble. Next thing we know, a check arrived by FedEx for $1,900, but we were only asking $250 for the mirror. Upon receipt of the check, they emailed us to keep $50 for our running-around trouble (instead of the previous $20), and remit the balance to them through Western Union.
It has now been 12 days and we have not heard another word from the buyer. If this had been a legitimate transaction, the buyer would never have sent $1,600 more for an item they had never even seen in person (only in a picture) and we suspect the check is phony. We believe this is a scam directed at senior citizens, because other ads we have placed have had no problems at all. The clue is that seniors usually have antiques for sale and are not “scam savvy,” especially on the Internet.
Susan Skaggs and Evelyn Jaquish
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