Candidates Cannot Affect Energy Bills

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Editor:

Mayoral candidate Kenny Evans is purposely misleading Payson voters by suggesting that he can do something about our high energy bills. That kind of politics has no place in Payson or anywhere else.

No one likes high energy bills. Mine was higher and my neighbors' were higher yet. But, candidate Evans can do no more about them than you and I can do.

Suggesting that a vote for him will somehow change your bill is nonsense. Worse, it suggests that he will do almost anything to get elected. This is a surprise tactic from an individual who otherwise gives of his time to many worthwhile causes.

So what can each of us do about our energy bills? First, we can ignore local candidates who cannot help us. Second, we can call our local energy suppliers and let them know we are concerned about the price of energy. Third, we can join their budget or level payment plans that spread the high winter (or for APS the high summer air conditioning bills) over the whole year. Fourth, we can ask about state and federal assistance programs such as the federally funded LIHEAP or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. To see if you are eligible, contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security at 1-800-3252-8401. Fifth, we can take a careful "energy conservation" look at our homes to see if we can reduce energy waste. That's a good step to help both the home budget and the environment.

I am not a spokesman for, nor do I work for SemStream, APS or any other utility. I did, however, spend 40 years working in and around utilities on safety and training issues. I can tell you that the rates utilities charge are very carefully regulated. Arizona has an elected body that approves these rates. Write or call them. The Arizona Corporation Commission Utilities Division can be reached toll free at 1-800-222-7000 or 1-800-535-0148. Their Web site contact page link is http://www.cc.state. az.us/divisions/administration/contact.asp.

They are the only people who can do something about your bill, (other than you by using less energy). It is their job to evaluate and ultimately approve what each utility can charge for the services they provide.

Unfortunately, even they do not control the price of propane that SemStream has to buy to ensure our supply and haul to Payson, which, by the way, is by far the largest part (about 90 percent of our bills).

The commission also does not control the price of coal, natural gas, or nuclear fuel that APS uses to generate our electricity.

Richard Hinkie

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