On August 29th Allegheny Power submitted a request for a rate increase. If approved, everyone's power bills will increase based upon usage. The Farmer's Almanac has predicted a rough winter. Should this rate increase go into effect, it will be more difficult for many to heat their homes.
That being said, Allegheny Power claims that it must recover $173 million in costs. A company must make some kind of profit to be viable. If utilities were public, they'd be just as inefficient as any other public entity and also probably be run by someone named Manchin. In the short term, not granting rate increases makes the problem worse.
The long term demands solutions that many have suggested. Al Gore wants to eliminate fossil fuel usage completely. Any realist knows that is not feasible, that it is more of a political statement than a plan. Too many areas depend on mining and it gives us a very high percentage of our energy production. Definitely keep looking for ways to burn coal more cleanly, but you cannot rule it out as a resource. Another option is to expand natural gas production in our state.
Our power bills have gone up because demand is high and supply short. In West Virginia there is no excuse when we sit atop massive deposits of coal and natural gas. It is time for the state to lessen the restrictions on gas drilling.
I joked with a neighbor who was struggling with a gas bill that it will soon be cheaper for them to buy their own equipment and drill for the gas themselves. It was said in jest, but the idea of people tending to their own needs is not so far fetched. Consider that not too long ago in our history many folks dug coal out of their backyard for their stoves. A radio commercial recently directed people towards information on distilling their own gasoline at home. West Virginians have always shown resourcefulness in tough times. The government and environmentalists may not like it, but a lot of people in this state may just take matters into their own hands and start doing for themselves.