Opinion

Editorial

"Puget Sound Energy's anti-community sentiment has been evident for years. Local offices in rural areas throughout the Northwest have been shut down, employees laid off, and power customers given an ineffective 1-800 number in Bellevue to call for power outage questions.The company's lack of concern for communities was disconcerting, but its latest move against families is plain unfair. PSE's proposed new rate structure would drastically increase energy costs during the early morning and evening hours when families use the most power. The rate hike will add considerably to family stress as well as power bills as verbal battles break out over when and when not to take showers, dry hair, wash clothes and do other energy-intensive activities.Families should be encouraged to conserve energy, but not by hammering them with exorbitant peak period electricity rates. PSE is asking for a 25 percent increase during peak usage periods, and that's likely only the start. Once the variable rate principle is approved by the state, look for more increases in the future.Unfortunately, this Puget Sound Energy proposal appears to be a done deal. The company spent millions of dollars on new electronic meter boxes to record the hourly details of energy usage. PSE must have received the appropriate winks and nods in the hallways of Olympia before committing to the project. The public comment period now in progress is likely just a charade.Oh well, PSE needs the added income to increase the price of its shares. Along those lines, we offer another idea. Many widowed grandmothers live alone in large houses, and therefore use more than their fair share of electricity. PSE might want to triple or quadruple power costs for this selfish segment of society.Call it the granny surcharge. Maybe they'll give us 10 percent for coming up with another great idea. "

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