I was real glad to see Public Service Commissioner George Wallace Jr. stand up for Alabama consumers recently. He wants Alabama Gas Corp. and other regulated natural gas companies to reduce rates to the levels that were in place before Hurricane Katrina. As has been reported, gas prices for many Alabama residents have doubled or tripled since last year. Rates have been raised as much as 37% this winter and, in my opinion, that can’t be justified. I totally agree with George and hope that he will be successful in this effort. Gas company officials have tried to defend the excessive prices they are charging customers, but most folks have difficulty accepting their story. In fact, Alabama Gas Corporation even made a small reduction in its rates.
The two other commissioners, Jim Sullivan and Jan Cook, should join in the request for a roll-back in rates. At least the Commission has asked its staff to study natural gas bills of Alabama residents. I am not sure why a study is required, however, because it is very clear that the gas companies are charging more than they should be allowed to charge. In any event, the commissioners said a hearing may be scheduled later depending on the results of the investigation. I firmly believe that the Public Service Commission (PSC) should order a return in gas rates to last year’s levels. If you agree, let the commissioners know how you feel. It’s most unfortunate that most Alabama citizens don’t have any concept of how the internal operations of the PSC work. Few people ever attend a Commission meeting, which isn’t surprising. That means the PSC pretty much operates in the dark. In my opinion, contacting the elected commissioners is the only way to get any relief on utility rates. I encourage you to contact each of the commissioners and express your feelings on this important issue.
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