Friday, September 26, 2008

Follow up from a concern individual about the C.U. proposed rate increases

Howdy everyone! Currently, the proposed rate increase that Southern Star Central has requested is under "suspension". Therefore, Tom and Fred, you were correct in your assertions at the last council meeting! And, C.U. - based upon some documentation that Joel Alexander provided to CFP - will be assessed some 40% more for their rate to get natural gas provided. The rate suspension is due to expire on Nov. 1, 2008; let's sit back and see if it does.


1) how does C.U. know that the suspension will not be continued beyond Nov. 1, 2008? And, in fact, won't remain in force until the hearings are held in May, 2009 or later?

2) what insurances/assurances are in place to provide for C.U. customers actually receiving "refunds" for gas charges paid to C.U.? And, when will those refunds be made to the rate-payers? How will those refunds, if paid, be made, cash or a credit on future bills?

Naturally, I can think of many more questions. But, as I see this issue, it is like going down to the local gas station and paying $4.97 per gallon of gas this afternoon, because oil prices will be going up. As we all know, that is not the case! Oil prices are actually coming down. So, sometime in the future, let's say six months from now, I go back to the gas station where I made my purchase and ask them, "How much do you owe me for the gas I bought back in Sept.?", their reply, "...refund? What refund? That was the price then and that's what you were charged." Then, adding insult to injury, they respond, "I didn't have to pay the wholesaler any more for the gas you bought, but I thought I'd have to, so that's what I based my pricing on." And, "...since I'm the only station in town, you'll just have to live with that."

In the above example, the Attorney General would get involved (purportedly) and there would be an investigation. Who will provide the same level of oversight over C.U. at the local level? No one! Think about it. The current City Council members are, for the most part, not going to be around when the you know what hits the fan. Why? Because the bills for the increased gas rates won't show up until after they leave office. C.U. has stated that they will not bill the increased charges until Apr. '09, which means the charges will be due in May '09...after the rats have bailed from the 'sinking ship'! The newly elected council members, along with those remaining in office, will be faced with the problem. Of course, the C.U. customers are left "holding the bag" for the next three years...the term approved by current City Council for the rates to be effective!

The Mayor has "suggested" holding-off on a vote since two council members will not be present for the meeting on 9-29-08. In that event, the C.U. Annual Budget and Rate Increase will "pass" automatically pursuant to the City Charter provisions. Therefore, it is imperative that council vote on this issue at that meeting and either pass it or reject it!

Final Question: How can the citizens demand and require City Council to vote on this issue in an attempt to halt passage of the budget and rate increase? Should we discuss this question at the 9-27-09 meeting?

Would like to have your thoughts and input.

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