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Power to the people

Staff at the state's Utilities Transportation Commission (UTC) issued a statement last month breathlessly announcing how they rejected two-thirds of Pacific Power's rate hike request. The request was to raise our power rates by 14.1 percent and the staff recommendation was to give Pacific Power a 4.8 percent increase. Sounds good, except for the fact this bait-and-switch has been happening for at least five years. In 2008 Pacific Power sought a 15 percent hike and was given 8.5. In 2011 they sought 21 percent and received 12. In 2013 they're asking 14.1 percent and the recommendation is 4.8. Pacific Power comes in with high requests that, perhaps, it knows it won't get. The UTC then allows a smaller rate hike, making the commission look great. Except it's not great. If this new rate goes through it'll mean our rates will have jumped 25 percent in the past five years. To make things worse, this latest proposal also raises the base rate you pay and it'll all take effect in December of this year, just when we're cranking up our thermostats for winter. My suggestion? Power to the people. The UTC is holding a rate hearing on Monday, July 15, at 6 p.m. in the Yakima City Council Chambers, 129 N. Second St. in Yakima. You can make your voice heard and maybe, just maybe, head off this bait-and-switch for once.

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