Speak truth to power companies

In your Dec. 15 online article, “Groups Urge Action Against Progress Energy Rate Hikes,” I was surprised to learn that 236,144 Progress and Duke customers had their power shut off because they couldn’t pay their bills [See http://avl.mx/ox]. A proposed 14-percent rate increase seems like a slap in the face.

This is why it is so important to speak out! The N.C. Utilities Commission is holding public hearings across our state. The Asheville public hearing on Progress Energy’s proposed 14 percent rate hike will be March 5, at  7 p.m. in the Buncombe County courthouse basement, District Courtroom 1, at 60 Court Plaza.

We need to overflow the courtroom and let the N.C. Utilities Commission know how we feel. It’s one thing to raise our rates, but knowing the 15-year future business plan for Progress Energy does not include solar, wind or expansion of energy efficiency makes me very frustrated.

As a volunteer with SAFE Carolinas, I started a petition to the N.C. Utilities Commission to bring a public hearing to Asheville so we can respond to their business plan known as the Integrated Resource Plan. There is only one public hearing and that is scheduled in Raleigh for Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. You can sign our online petition at http://www.main.us.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Progress Energy customer or not. Anyone can come to the hearing and let the commission know you want the utility companies to move away from dirty coal, dangerous gas and risky nuclear power. As customers we deserve a choice in our energy future with wind, solar and efficiency programs.

For more info and to learn how you can be involved, contact Laura at LSredoak@gmailcom.

— Laura Sorensen
Asheville

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