When Power (and Weather) Become Your Enemy

Janet Kuypers editorial

    Six hundred thousand customers in the Chicago land area lost power because of recent storms (and the subsequent flooding in northern Chicago, and damage from flying debris). Ninety percent of all of these customers (that means over half a million customers) had their power restored within 48 hours (worst case scenario for the average household is that you’d have to throw away the meat from your refrigerator, or possibly the milk, small price to pay when things could have been much worse). But Commonwealth Edison (you know, the big power company) received a class-action suit from people (who claimed to receive both physical and emotional scars) who didn’t get their power restored quickly enough.
    Hmmm. It makes me think of how doctors have to pay so much for insurance because people are so likely to sue if anything goes wrong in the country with the world’s best medical system, which is one reason the cost for medical aid is so high now in this country. (I know, I know, part of it is also because drug companies who spend millions of dollars to come up with groundbreaking medicines for diseases are forced to give that medicine to third world countries who need it so desperately, I know that brings the cost up for us Americans too, but that’s another story for another editorial.)
    But the thing is, rates for power have remained low in the Chicago land area for a long time, so we shouldn’t complain.
    Oh, wait, there’s a reason the rates have remained so low for power. The government imposed a rate freeze on Commonwealth Edison for the past decade (you know, possibly because older people couldn’t afford air conditioners in the painfully hot summers, or heat in the painfully cold winters). Now, this rate freeze just expired, and news reports would talk about how the price of power was going to go up, and if people couldn’t afford the increased costs they could work out a system to help consumers with the costs. Now, with the weather the way it has been recently, people have been using a lot of power. And so I just got my power monthly statement post rate freeze, and boy it was high. Well, suck it up, I thought, think of this as being like dealing with higher gas prices, so deal with it and pay your bill. But now I hear that people have been excessively complaining to the government about how the rates have seemed to instantly more than double.
    So, thanks to our socialist state government, I hear they may be sending out a rebate check (as a deduction in the power bill) because of the hardships the people have had to go through because of the evil power company. I also heard that there is a chance the government may once again impose a freeze on the power company, to limit the rate increase to half of what it is doing now.



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