Two More Days Until the Public Service Commission Hear From YOU!

This Wednesday, February 10th at the C-Tel Presentation Hall at Sheridan College, the public is encouraged to pack the auditorium to let the Public Service Commission know they do not want MDU to raise utility rates as exorbitantly as has been proposed.

Bill Bensel is with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, and tells us just how important it is to have your voice heard.

Bill outlines how the forum will be conducted.

Bensel says the public forum before the PSC begins at 4 pm, but should last well past 5, so people who work past the start time are still urged to attend as soon as they can get there.

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Powder River Energy

If MDU can't survive or the rate increase is rejected, there will always be another power company more than willing to step in and take over. Sorry, your sad song for poor MDU doesn't carry any weight here. There will always be somebody else to be more than happy to take our money!!!

What a BIASED "story"

How is this possibly a news story? Please, public, show up to protest the exorbitant rate hike proposed by MDU, because we at Sheridan Media just assume that everyone is against a rate increase for electricity. How offensive to lump everyone into that category.

I am probably the only person in Sheridan that is pro-MDU's rate increase. First and foremost, MDU's role as a utility provider in Sheridan is as a "middle-man," negotiating between those that generate power and the customer. Eventually, MDU will either need to get into the power-generation game or go out of business. If MDU has no capacity to generate power, then why can't we, citizens and consumers, negotiate directly with those whose business is generating power? MDU is looking at the long-term survival and viability as a company in Sheridan, and is looking at vertical integration as a way to stay relevant and in business and in existence here. By generating power, by purchasing the raw materials for power generation, they have more control over the production and generation of power, no longer acting as a middle-man. To get to this position requires some growing pains, and a rate increase now will provide stability in the long-run.

Second, there are many citizens that believe that energy is their right, as basic a human necessity as food, water, and shelter. The ability to flip a switch to light your home is NOT a right, and NOT a necessity. It is a luxury and a privilege, one that we pay for. MDU charges each customer a flat fee just to be "on the grid" and able to flip that switch, in addition to charging for energy consumed. How many of us are simply unconscious of this choice? Those who say this rate hike is going to hurt--could you choose to use less energy? Could you turn the lights off when leaving a room? Could you wash dishes by hand instead of running the dishwasher? Could you wait to wash that favorite shirt until you have a full load of laundry? Could you take a shorter shower? Could you better insulate your home? Could you use more efficient appliances? How many of members of the public simply don't want to pay more for what they are blindly consuming?

Finally, as a consumer of power, are you aware of what it costs to not only consume power, but to even be on the grid? Here's the crux of my argument for the rate increase--NO ONE HAS TO BE ON THE GRID. You can choose to go off the grid, choose to generate your own power through alternate means. Should you generate more than you need, MDU is required by federal regulations to buy your excess power from you. I believe that the power that we're consuming is priced too low--ignoring the costs to our environment through mining of coal, drilling of oil, and pumping of natural gas; we've subsidized our power to the point where we believe we're entitled to consume. Instead, it should be a luxury. If it were, I truly believe we'd be much more innovative in developing and using other sources of energy--solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower.

I say that MDU is on the right track in trying to vertically integrate their company, moving from middleman to generator of the product that they are selling. But it's not enough. So, raise those rates through the roof--only then will we experience true innovation in energy.

It must be nice

It must be nice being financially independent! Try living on disability, living on a fixed income, a low fixed income, and then spout off about how you want to "raise those rates through the roof".

This is very well stated. It

This is very well stated. It is accepted in business that where the supply line and demand line intersect is equalibrium. We will see eventually see if the rate hikes drive the price above that sweet spot and people begin using less energy. Its all supply and demand my friends, and Sheridan is an area that is demanding more and in order to supply this a higher price will follow.

Wow

The economic crisis we face today in our country is because of this type of thinking. Spend money you dont have to get what you want. This is not innovation, this is unsound thought process. Financial advancement of the few does not meet the needs of the many. Seriously, give it some thought. We have more resources in wyoming then any other state for energy. Ever heard of supply and demand. Think.

Interesting

Quote; "I believe that the power that we're consuming is priced too low"

I'd like to know just how much you make a year..

After that I would like to put you in a room with hardworking Americans living month to month ..

reply to "Interesting"

Wow, way to throw that red herring out there.

I do stand by my argument that the power we're consuming is priced too low, even though any proposed rate increase, if approved and put into effect, will be fiscally painful for me. However, when I think about the bulk of our planet living without electricity, I realize that I'm lucky to have access to the grid, and that privilege has a price--it's not a necessity. I truly believe we've priced our energy low to a point where people believe it's a right, an entitlement, and most can't fathom cutting consumption of energy or living without electricity (it can be done, and still is done in modern America by certain religions and cultures). We haven't calculated the true costs of energy consumption in the price per kilowatt hour, and those true costs include harvesting natural resources that can not be replenished within our lifetime. When I look at the true cost of energy over the price that's on my bill, I know I'm paying too little and using too much. Yes, I still take 20 minute showers, and have an electric hot water heater--I could take a 5 minute shower and install an instant hot water system to reduce my consumption, but that's not a step I've taken yet. And most days, I wait to do laundry until I have a full load, but there are some days when I need that confidence boost of my favorite outfit, and wash just those few items. I recognize that, and know that if I feel the pain in my wallet, I'm more likely to change my ways.

And I'm glad that you make the assumption that I'm rich and lazy, because nothing could be further from true. I'm one of those hardworking Americans living month to month. I share an apartment with a roommate because I can't afford to pay the rent and utilities on my own. I paid for my Bachelor's degree without assistance from my parents--I did take out student loans, and I'm still paying those. I did take out more loans to pursue a Masters degree, and I'll pay back every penny of those and every penny of interest that I accrue on those loans. In addition to studying and pursuing my Masters, I have a full-time job, and I tend bar part-time to make extra money and pay off credit card debt--yes, I did go through a time where I used credit cards to live beyond my means, but that does not give me a pass on paying the debts that I accrued. I've paid my car off, and intend to drive it until it can no longer be repaired. I've paid out nearly $6,000--1/4 of my income--in medical bills last year to diagnose and treat not one, but two, chronic medical conditions. I take $100 in medications per month to stay healthy and keep those chronic conditions under control, but my paycheck didn't increase to cover that extra cost. One of those conditions is colitis, a digestive disorder, so I have to eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet to control that condition--medication is not enough by itself to control the condition, because, as problematic as my colon can be, I'd rather not replace it with a colostomy bag. In these days of restaurant dollar menus and processed convenience foods, a high-fiber low-fat diet is not the cheapest to eat because it is a diet minimally-processed, a diet of whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. However, those processed foods are priced cheap because they don't include the true health costs associated with that diet--heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. The price also doesn't include the cost to the land that grows the food, land that it pumped full of chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides to keep a monocrop growing long enough to harvest it. It doesn't include the cost to labor, encouraging the hiring of illegal migrant workers at abysmal pay to do the dangerous work of harvesting and slaughtering ingredients for processed food. It doesn't include the costs in increased antibiotic resistance when we herd cattle into a feedlot and give them an unnatural diet of corn and animal by-products, with an appetizer of stimulants to encourage them to eat that slop while standing in their own feces and urine. All of those reasons are why I shell out for local produce at our in-season farmers markets, organic food at the grocer, and locally-grown, organically-raised and humanely-slaughtered meat. All of those reasons are why I've started a compost bin now for a garden post-thaw. All of those reasons are why I spend time in the kitchen cooking the food that I eat. All of those reasons are why I support local farmers, local ranchers, 4-H kids, local meat processing, and organic foods, not just verbally, but with my very-stretched dollars.

Those dollars would stretch even thinner with a utility rate increase. But I want to pay the true, accurate and fair cost for the energy that I consume. I want energy to be generated from renewable sources, in renewable and sustainable ways. That energy revolution will never happen without fiscal pain, without consumers becoming conscious citizens that understand the true costs of their consumption. It's easy to say that I understand, yet my actions aren't always reflective of that understanding--the pain of paying a higher bill and a higher price definitely is an impetus to act and change, and yes, sometimes, that's the swift kick in the rear that I need to realign my actions and my beliefs.

"First and foremost, MDU's

"First and foremost, MDU's role as a utility provider in Sheridan is as a "middle-man," negotiating between those that generate power and the customer".

MDU is no middleman.They want 15,000 people to pay off their latest project that is tanking because of low priced natural gas.

The only irony here is that sheridanmedia wants to preach the need for unbiased news reporting and censor these forums,unless they themselves are against something like this hike.Then it's ok to print opinion as news.

Yes,please attend so at

Yes,please attend so at least you can watch Heath try to campaign himself into a second term as city councilman and pretend to take a stance with corporate america.

Too bad sheridanmedia doesn't encourage the public to fill city council meetings to standing room only and get rid of the mayor and city council.That would be biased "news reporting" though. It's ok to influence peoples decisions on rate hikes with media though.