Friday, April 21, 2006

Electricity Rate Deal Falls Short

Alright, we'll be fair about it. Instead of knocking you out by smashing a huge piece of plywood on your head right now, The League will slowly beat you with a stick for a couple of months until you're on the brink of unconsciousness. Then we'll smash you up with the plywood. Sound reasonable?

Does if you're Robert Ehrlich. The Republican yesterday announced a plan to defer the looming electricity rate hike, The Washington Post reported. Instead of a 72 percent increase this summer, consumers who opt into the Ehrlich plan will face a 19.4 percent increase in July followed by 25 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2007. They will then be hit with the market rate - you knew the plywood was coming - on Jan. 1, 2008. In the meantime, they have to pay a monthly fee of $15.

This is a horrible idea. MaryPIRG's Brad Heavner summed up the absurdity of it in a quote carried by The Baltimore Sun: "Putting off a bad deal until later is still a bad deal."

So what's the dillio? Is the governor actually stupid enough to believe his "solution" helps Marylanders? Of couse not. Rumor has it he had to read some books while playing football at Princeton. Ehrlich knows the agreement does nothing to save Marylanders money, but he also knows it serves to defer the bulk of the rate hike until after the election.

Lawmakers need to call a special session and come up with a real plan that does more than helping Ehrlich's re-election chances. Deregulation is an absolute failure and the sooner policymakers recognize that, the better off we'll all be.

from The League: Reassembled


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