E-mail letters, June 28, 2010

Tiered rates are not
revenue boost for Xcel

Rick Wagner’s column from June 25, “Income redistribution is behind new electric rates,”  contains some inaccuracies. Tiered rates is a pricing structure that is relatively new to Colorado but used in other states and designed to give better price signals to customers about the costs incurred to serve customers.

Customers pay a higher rate for summer usage over 500-kilowatt hours per month and a lower rate for energy used during the rest of the year. Customers can still use the same amount of energy as they did before, however, now they have better information about the cost and can make decisions about such things as appliance efficiency, lighting choices, and energy conservation.

Mr. Wagner says that this new pricing system is expected to raise $128 million for Xcel Energy. That is plainly not true. The company was authorized to increase rates to pay for the cost of new infrastructure to serve our customers. Those rates went into effect earlier in the year and are unrelated to the tiered rate design that started on June 1.

Tiered rates are designed to be revenue neutral to the company and therefore to customers as a whole over the course of a year. Customer rates from October through May will be lower than they would have been in the absence of summer tiered rates. Some customers will pay more over the course of the year and some less — impacts on each customer are a matter of their individual use.

We are encouraged that customers are looking at their usage with interest and thinking about the ways that they use energy throughout the year.

We sympathize with customers who may have trouble paying their bills during the summer and we have personal account representatives that try and help them find assistance.

Karen Hyde
Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Affairs
Xcel Energy

Energy cost savings
not fueled by conspiracy

To Rick Wagner’s recent column I have this to say: Rubbish!

I am one of those “poor, lower income people who live in an older home.” In fact, my home is over 100 years old, well insulated by Housing Resources after we bought our home many years ago, a program still available.
He said the average home uses 687 kilowatt hours of electricity; I checked my latest bill and I used 150 kilowatt hours. I use my computer and watch television many hours a day, but they are connected to power strips that I turn off each night (you would be amazed at the money you will save).

I use ceiling fans in three rooms all day and most nights and my swamp cooler whenever I feel like it. I use energy-efficient light bulbs. I don’t own a clothes dryer, I use the free dryer outside, the same one millions of women all over the world use.
I am not the victim of a conspiracy, government plan or evil utility company. I am a happy practical person who enjoys saving money and energy.
Martha Scott
Grand Junction

State Supreme Court pushes
redistribution of wealth

Redistribution of wealth, the mantra of the Left, is occurring daily in the lives of Coloradans through increasing “fees” of vehicle registrations, property taxes (mill levy freeze) and the “Dirty Dozen” taxes on candy, etc. This is due to our state Supreme Court’s agenda to overcome the TABOR Amendment, which gives us the right to vote on our taxes.

Responsible for this betrayal of trust are four of the justices: Mullarkey, Bender, Martinez and Rice. Mullarkey has already announced her retirement. You will be given a chance to vote out the other three liberals by voting “No” to their retention on the November ballot.

Our state Supreme Court must be accountable to the people of Colorado, not the liberal Denver government!
Sue Benjamin
Grand Junction

Western Slope nurse
inspired her siblings

Regarding your article about Grace Gregor on June 21, a very important fact was missing. Grace also has a younger sister — me — who admired my sister’s career choice of nursing so much, that I too became a registered nurse.

I loved hearing the stories Grace told when she came home on weekends and holidays about what she was learning and doing at school so much that I knew nursing was the career for me, as well.

My husband, Tom, worked two jobs to finance my education and in 1983 I graduated from Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Mich. I have been in many fields of nursing over the last 27 years and love helping others get and stay healthy and look forward to retirement next month.

I have already renewed my license this year, never knowing what retirement may bring my way. Grace also has a younger brother who is an LVN as well. Nursing seems to “be in our blood.”
Janet C. Viola R.N.
Hurst, Texas

Progressive rates are
used in many arenas

I am ever grateful to the indefatigable Rick Wagner for his sharp-eyed exposure of nefarious bureaucratic schemes.  However, his discovery of Xcel’s projected progressive rates, which he considers a “bizarre attempt at social engineering,” is a case of the horse being long gone.
Here’s another one for you.  Grand Junction and Palisade both increase the rate per gallon of water as consumption rises.  Consider the parsimonious tea-sipping Ute customer who gets 3,000 gallons of water for $11.  Then pity the poor plutocrat replenishing his pool under the purview of those same Ute buccaneers who nick him a top of the scale $10 per 1,000 gal.

And then there’s income tax.  Talk about wealth-redistribution! Oh, where will it all end?  Maybe when they clip you five bucks for your third bag of fries, we’ll be getting close.
Jim Thayer
Grand Junction

Military ID center
needed in Grand Junction

Now that a new National Guard Armory is going to be built in Grand Junction, it is time to seriously think about having a permanent identification-card office included in this complex. This office would provide ID cards for active and retired military personnel and their dependents.

At the present time, retired members and their dependents must drive to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, or go to Denver or Colorado Springs to have their ID cards renewed or updated. There are hundreds of people here in western Colorado and eastern Utah that would us this ID card office here in Grand Junction.

In the past, ID cards were issued at the armory here, but we were informed by Sgt. Weeks that they quit doing them.
SFC Harold W Epple, Retired

Maes more experienced
in running a business

Mr. Brown’s recent letter to the editor is correct. Scott McInnis is certainly experienced. However, some of his experiences are not included in Brown’s letter or in McInnis’ mailings I have received.

Missing is his experience as a lobbyist after his years as a Colorado state legislator and as a U.S. Congressman. In spite of his statement in a speech at the State Assembly, where he said his voting record proves he is conservative, his record proves otherwise.  Instead of taking the taxpayers’ side, 100 percent of the time, his voting record ranged from a low of 15 percent to 61 percent from 1983 to the end of 2003. 

Mr. McInnis has a great deal of experience in the legislative branch of our government, but is running for an executive position. The legislative branch of our government was formed to make our laws. One of the main functions of the executive branch of our government — the governor — is to make sure state governments operate within a balanced budget, similar to a business.

Dan Maes is not an experienced politician but is definitely an experienced businessman. Addressing the position that our present governor has put Colorado into is going to take someone who can get rid of a lot of deadwood that has been added, over the last year alone.  I think Maes has the ability to do this and that he should not be overlooked just because he is not an experienced politician.

George Lewis

Individual responsibility
needed in energy solution

I was a writer for Shale Country Magazine back in the 1970s, when oil shale was the latest and greatest solution to energy independence, and I still remember Armand Debeque showing me old newspapers from decades before with headlines heralding the same news being printed then.
Not much has changed, except that our water reserves are less and our dependence on oil much greater, despite Gary Hart’s very clear and prophetic warnings that we needed to take individual responsibility for our addiction to oil.
Where is the overdue discussion of our individual responsibilities as stewards of our limited resources? There are no “miracle cures” or easy fixes. I think perhaps a national 12-step program is in order.
Paula Massa Anderson
Grand Junction


More doubt-mongering
on global warming

In his recent letter to the editor online, Michael Higgins inexpertly continues the deception by
repeating debunked misinformation about climate change disseminated by professional doubt-mongers.  Repeating false claims doesn’t make them true.

A 1975 scare story about global cooling was produced by Newsweek, NOT scientists. A 1975 National Academy of Sciences report made no predictions. It soberly concluded that more data and better climate models were needed before scientists could make reliable quantitative forecasts about human impacts on climate.

The “climategate” frenzy was much hullabaloo over nothing. Three independent commissions completed investigations concluding there was no scientific malpractice. All the scientists were exonerated. London’s “Sunday Times” retracted its claims of errors in the IPCC reports.

The British justice who evaluated “An Inconvenient Truth” agreed that “Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate,” and allowed showing it in schools. The most serious of nine “errors” was a wrong verb tense.

It’s true, some places are cooler and some warmer than average. Arctic sea ice is declining faster than forecast; melting in May 2010 was 50 percent faster than average. In Antarctica, cold westerly winds strengthened by the ozone hole have produced a slow rate of ice buildup in some places. Meanwhile, on a global scale, 2010 was the warmest January-May ever recorded.

I have no idea where Mr. Higgins obtained his “information” about the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program. The NAPAP reports I have describe decades of careful monitoring and published scientific research.

Everyone is welcome to have an opinion and question anything anytime. However, repeating false claims does more harm than good.

Without some expertise in climate science, your opinion is unlikely to be more accurate than the scientific consensus (continually strengthened since 1995). Humans are having a significant and detectable effect on global climate.
Richard Alward
Grand Junction



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