Did you hear the one about the gas and electric company threatening to raise rates 64%, and then backing off to a 43% increase, and calling the difference a “savings” for consumers? Yeah…I didn’t find it very funny either, but that’s exactly what Louisville Gas & Electric has done. For several months now, LG&E had launched a media blitz trying to justify their request for a 64% increase in prices over last years increase in the face of decreased funding for low income families, job layoffs, increased medical costs, and salaries cuts. However, embarrassed by allegations of price gouging by oil and gas producers, and bowing to consumer pressure, the “gas giant” (sorry-couldn’t resist that one) backed off their increase to a mere 43% increase. Customers are supposed to be grateful and regard the 21% difference as a “savings”, or at least that’s impression we’re given by their latest propaganda…er...informational commercials. Wrong. I though the Public Service Commission was there to protect our interests? Guess not. Perhaps all future hearings should be open to public and publicized to everyone can attend. Hate to say it folks, but the only one who’s going to look at our interest is us.
On a related note, what did you think about the Senate’s Commerce Committee’s hearing on the oil increase? I was particularly surprised by Senator Tim Stevens (R-Alaska) refusal to swear in the oil executives before questioning despite requests by other committee members (both Republican and Democrat). Doesn’t this guy understand the perception that gives to the American people? We already know we’re being ripped off by these oil folks, and it didn’t help when the media reported that Senator Stevens has benefited to the tune of some $10 million dollars from these same guys! One of the biggest oil deposits in North America is right there in Senator Stevens’s home state of Alaska. I guess it just goes to show how out of touch folks in Washington are. I would be interested in knowing how many people on that committee, or indeed, in that room have received money from the very same oil executives they’re supposed to be investigating. Perhaps it should be mandatory for all committees’ members to sign letters of disclosure in future.