Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:07 PM on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rates punish those who conserve

I kept up with the Regulatory Commission and HEA's proposed rate changes, but apparently missed the final "approval." So imagine my surprise in receiving my most recent HEA bill for three times the usual amount.

I use very little electricity from HEA, but now I am expected to subsidize someone's pocket. They expect to get paid for a minimum of 150 kilowatts per month even if I only use 5 kilowatts.

And they increased the "customer charge" to $17 per month. With zero electric use they still want a minimum of $33.70 per month. If you disconnect service they want $107 to reconnect in the future. And if you reconnect within 12 months they will back charge you $33.70 per month even when you received no services from them. That fits the definition of extortion.

A couple of years ago they installed digital meters so they could be read from the office and not require meter readers. So no extra cost there.

I have the advantage of not requiring HEA's services at my home and have disconnected from them. But most people must have HEA electricity. If you are a seasonal user, or if you conserve and have a highly energy efficient building, you will be punished for it in your monthly bill. I recommend a two-tier billing system for the latter group of property owners.

Incidentally, I contacted the Regulatory Commission and its advocacy office and was basically told "too bad, so sad." So from now on HEA gets zero money from me for zero service.

Jo Fisher