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home : opinion : columns April 30, 2016

2/9/2014 6:00:00 AM
Guest Column: Creeping socialism comes to utility bill
Glenn Agee
Golden Valley Resident

We all knew it was coming. After receiving numerous letters from UniSource Energy Services about how much electricity I was using compared to my neighbors over the past year or so, I have received a flyer in my last bill about the new rate increases (what a surprise).

It seems that the Arizona Corporation Commission has voted to approve a new rate structure for UniSource. Not only will you be penalized for using more electricity than your neighbors, but you will also pay more based on the time of day you use that electricity. Welcome to the UniSource socialized billing system.

This new system has so many flaws it's hard to know where to start. First of all, I live in a neighborhood that has lots of snowbirds. When they are here, they use just as much or more electricity as I do, but while they are not here I am getting constant letters from UniSource about my over-usage compared to my neighbors.

There is also the fact that some of the neighbors heat with propane and not electricity. I would think that they would have a lower usage than me, but as far as UniSource is concerned, that doesn't matter. For their purpose of raising rates, all that matters is that I use more!

When these letters first started coming out, we were told that this was just a free service from UniSource which was intended to help us to maintain a lower electric bill. The truth is, they never cared how much we saved on the bills since the real reason for the letters was to get an overall rate increase by creating a non-existent rate difference between neighbors. Sort of like pitting one against the other, then declaring there is a problem.

Don't think that you will get away with switching to solar or wind either, since they already have that covered. They will charge you more for the little electricity you use by claiming that you don't pay for their infrastructure. You see, with the united socialist energy company, you have no way of lowering your bill, and they know it.

Unless you're willing to freeze to death in winter or die from heatstroke in summer, they know all too well that we will just have to pay more for their contrived energy conservation program.

I suspect that "smart meters" will be next so they can tell us when we can prepare dinner or wash our clothes.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: We The People{me} Thinking

This has nothing to do with socialism ,,Its all about greed & control and the fact they'er trying to close coal fire plants if they fail to modified to meet the regulations(fed's) you know that thing about clean air(coals little dirty secret)toxic byproducts(ponds) ect.....ect.... whats next the cardnials lose because of a socialist conspiracy..OMG!

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2014
Article comment by: N A

Mr. Glenn Agee, Thank you for exposing this matter.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: eleanor hartmann


Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

What ever happened to volume discounts?

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: ya think? .....

@Linda Athens.....can't prove it, but maybe the green energy charge is to pay the utility companies' lobbyists who bribe Congress for the ability to charge you extra while evading environmentally-friendly policies

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

My bill has a green energy charge of $5.25. And that would be for what? Or was it already addressed here and I am too illiterite to understand it?

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: R H

I am not defending it but this is NOT anything new. Look at your telephone bill and your cell phone bill . See the 'Universal service' fee ?. That is to provide FREE service to those who are dependent upon the rest of society for not only staple items but CONVENIENCES like cell phones . Utility companies get to charge whatever they want to because our government has stipulated that they only get remain in business if they do what the government wants. The government , both under (R) and (D) , has embraced socialism and it's ugly sister communism when the people show no outrage.
You are 100% justified in being outraged and do not let the others tell you that it's 'for the greater good' when you are charged a higher rate for those who get FREE STUFF. Just because some people are used to the blunt and forcible intrusion of government into the marketplace (some people even ENJOY IT) does not mean you have to like it ...or tolerate it.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

and no matter how much they raise rates, they are not investing a dime into protecting the grid from EMP attack - unlike China and Russia have done, and in the face of North Korean and Iranian efforts to perfect their capacity to launch such an attack upon America.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: William Moody

I don’t think this is related to socialism. I think it is the result of the influence
of huge amounts of money that influences our state and federal government. The Koch
Brothers are the most notorious source of the influence. All day long big energy
Companies fund TV ads telling us how beneficial clean coal, clean gas, and clean
oil are to America. Organizations like ALEC fund the writing of laws that favor corporations
and promote predatory capitalism.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Doing Research


Over the last 5 years, as a taxpayer, you've probably paid around $512 on average that went to oil subsidies.

Which means that you're paying money to oil companies to... do what? compete in the free market?

Not much of a free market if the government collects cash from you to give to a private business.

This has been happening for years. That you were asked directly, instead of indirectly to pay for this, is the first time you've noticed.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

I wouldn't call it socialized, I would call it "low" since the recession (contrary to what liberals say) is still alive and kicking. I will say the "creative gouging" is not over, Southern Nevada has not only a 3 tier system which charges you a higher rate as you reach each step in consumption but also charges you if you use more electricity in the evening. Now I don't know about you but I work morning to eve and if I need to wash clothes, dishes etc. it's in the evening so I have no choice but to pay the higher cost. Now then, how about some consumer creative charging, I say each time the electric goes out regardless of the cause, UES should be charged a fee by each customer for resetting clocks, stereos, DVD/VCR players, microwave clock, stove clock etc. The cost for my inconvenience would be $25 an hour with a 2 hour minimum, maybe it's time for the state to look at other companies.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Not afraid of change

Good grief, get over it! The only thing missing from your letter is how Obama is to blame. I had a smart meter installed last year, and have noticed no weird increases, nor paranoid surveillance from it. Actually, my electric bill went from $71 to $49 this month. UES is in the business to make as much profit as legally allowed. This is the Republican way of thinking, has nothing to do with Socialism. If you`re looking for politicians with your best interest in mind, vote out all of the Republicans next election.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: joker wilde

The Republican-dominated ACC strikes again. If it benefits the utilities, you can bet the Corporation Commission is for it. The utilities spend big bucks on ads touting the use of solar energy, but then ask the ACC to raise rates because too many people are converting to solar energy. Go figure!

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Not only will you be penalized for using more electricity than your neighbors…”

By “penalized” are we to assume you mean you will pay more for using more? What a odd and strange concept! I know when I buy gasoline I always pay less when I buy 30 gallons than my neighbor who buys only ten.

“Don't think that you will get away with switching to solar or wind either…You see, with the united socialist energy company, you have no way of lowering your bill, and they know it.”

What cute little pejorative you created there. Good job! And of course you can lower your bill by just having Unisource disconnected. See how simple that is? Go “off the grid” completely! Again – very simple.

“I suspect that "smart meters" will be next…”

Ahh, yes, the Smart Meter canard. Again, disconnect! Simple, right?

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Trained observer

This is not socialism, in which everyone would get free electricity or at least a big discount. This is capitalism. If you knew what Duke Energy just did to people in the East, you would not be complaining so much. Utility companies are untouchable.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Art Scholl

Good Letter!! Much food for thought! Time to pull our head out of the sand and fight back. The more you reduce your use the more the rates go up, go figure. I am sure that they have someone on staff just to figure out the next manner in which to keep us locked into the grid so that customers will continue paying the maximum rate for the least service and product in which they can legally provide. Criminal.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: J J

Oh please. You must live in a cocoon. I am nearly 40, but when I was a child living in Phoenix - some 30 years ago - I distinctly remember APS having different rates for on and off-peak usage. My mother would run the dishwasher and laundry after 7PM and it cost less. This same practice has been going on around the country for decades. To think it's some sudden socialism-apocalypse is absurd and sad. Get a grip on reality, learn about the world, learn amour science and business and why UniSource was behind the times by a couple of decades. They are making better use of resources.

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