Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 2:08 PM on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is fair?




The latest buzz is, that everyone needs to pay their fair share. While we all know this will never be reality, we need to ask ourselves what is fair. My one neighbor has a nicer house than I, my other neighbor has a newer and better pickup than my old beater.

Currently some people want to heat with gas, other will choose other methods. This choice is based on many factors. One of the biggest is cost to heat our homes. Those who want to use oil, propane, firewood, electric or even ground source heat pumps do so based upon choices they have made. Part of that is the cost of transporting that source of heat to their home. It is built into the price they pay for home delivery. For example, fuel is cheaper at the bulk plant than delivered to your home.

Now natural gas enters the picture and we are lead to believe that it is better and cheaper to use natural gas than it is to use other forms of energy. The problem with this way of thinking is that those who do not choose to use natural gas still have to pay for the delivery of it to their neighbor so that the neighbor can save money and have the cheap heating fuel. It looks from the outside that the reason it is so much cheaper is that everyone has to pay their fair share so some can get that "cheaper" gas for their home.

Therefore I have to ask myself is it fair that my neighbor pays $3,500, so I can save $3,500 on my heating costs over the next 10-15 years? Is it fair that when Anchorage starts running low on natural gas and is willing to pay more, that our prices go up or, even worse, the gas starts flowing north? Or, God forbid, we have to start practicing for gas shortage days and don't forget the current natural gas prices are cheaper than they have been in decades, back when gasoline was $1.50 gallon, they will only go up from here.

There are those in Homer who have chosen to use Ground Source Heat Pumps (GeoThermal heating), that when coupled with the electricity from Bradley Lake, provide economical 100 percent renewable energy for their homes. They have no transportation cost because the solar energy is stored underground on their own property. Is it fair to ask them to give up the money they are currently saving, to fund the neighbor's gas bill?

As to the current approval process, would it be fair if politicians passed a law stating that every registered voter would count as one vote in the next election, and that anyone who did not actively vote against the current incumbent, would be counted as a yes vote for the incumbent. What is fair?

Randy Arndt

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