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Progress energy doesn't get it

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Letter to the editor by Susan Franks

By The Staff

Editor:

Three days after the Florida Public Service Commission allowed Progress Energy to trim its bills by 11 percent, they have filed to raise its rates again with the PSC. What is it they just don’t get about the current economic conditions here in Florida?

Their president and CEO, Jeff Lyash here in Florida is quoted as saying: “We understand it is difficult for our customers,” and then continues to rationalize increasing the rates for electricity. Progress Energy just laid off 187 operations and maintenance personal in Levy County, but somehow needs more dollars for maintenance “for power plants, power lines and similar costs.” If you believe that one, I’ve got a bridge to sell you!

In addition, Mr. Lyash is quoted as saying the increase in rates will provide “the opportunity to provide investors a reasonable rate of return.” What exactly does he believe that rate to be, when people are losing their homes to foreclosure, have lost their 401K retirement savings, and our unemployment rates are one of the highest in the state.

In addition, at a March 18 community outreach meeting in Citrus County, the representative of Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite’s office told the 50+ attendees that: “Progress Energy plans on building a Visitor’s Center in Levy County for the proposed power plant.” A poor choice of prioritizing expenditures for a plant that we’re not sure will ever be built. Furthermore, where is the public outcry for a Visitor’s Center in the first place! What are these people thinking?

The CEO’s of Progress Ene rgy Corporation, a privately owned and operated electric utility, a monopoly, with stock holders, need a reality check.

Their lack of understanding of the rate payer’s plight in this economic crisis is now becoming reminiscent of the arrogance and greed displayed by the money barons of AIG and Citibank, who have misappropriated and squandered our tax dollars and violated the public trust.

That being said it is time to take action with the one entity that can: “Just Say NO” to Progress Energy’s request for another rate hike, The Public Service Commission.

We are fortunate to have one of our own as a member on the Public Service Commission. Her name is Nancy Argenziano, former State Senator representing all or part of 13 counties in Florida, including: Baker, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Jefferson, Levy, Leon, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Suwannee and Taylor respectively.

Here is our chance to have our voices heard and help our Public Service Commissioners do their duty representing all rate payers being held hostage by Progress Energy.

This decision on the rate hike is expected to be made in May. Call our Commissioner Nancy Argenziano in Tallahassee today at 1-850-413-6038. Leave a message, if need be, but make your voices heard!

Suzan Franks

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