Letters to the Editor

June 6, 2014

Energy surcharge

It never fails that during the coldest days of winter and the hottest days of summer when electric usage peaks and nears the breaking point, ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) announces that rolling blackouts will go into effect, lest consumers adjust their thermostats and stop using those dreaded microwaves, clothes dryers, and other hogs of electric power until the crisis passes.

It never fails that during the coldest days of winter and the hottest days of summer when electric usage peaks and nears the breaking point, ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) announces that rolling blackouts will go into effect, lest consumers adjust their thermostats and stop using those dreaded microwaves, clothes dryers, and other hogs of electric power until the crisis passes.

All of us should conserve, they say, and usually the fear tactics work.

My wife, Dottie, and I do our part, but recently an event occurred that smacks of “what’s good for one party is not necessarily good for the other.”

Our current power company has a little-known clause in their contract — and through research, I believe that most do — that says if one uses less than 1,000 kilowatts of electricity in a given month, a base charge — nothing more than a penalty — is tacked onto the bill.

For the period ending May 8, 2014, the McKinley household used 992 kilowatts; thus we were treated with an additional $19.95 surcharge.

That, my friends, makes no sense to me.

— Fred B. McKinley, Burleson

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