What's wrong with this picture?
A recent study of economic conditions in Erie County found the rates Ohio Edison charges to supply electrical power to industry represents a major roadblock to revitalization and job creation efforts. The higher rates discourage industry from locating here.
And residents who pay the bills already know the shock that sets in when you get the heating bill at home.
Study be damned, Ohio Edison wants to jump its electric rates and will appear before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at 1:30 p.m. March 17 in Sandusky to present its rate hike plan. They will attempt to justify why the current higher rates Ohio Edison charges for industry and residential customers in Erie County should be hiked further to make them even higher than the rates charged in other Ohio counties and rates other utility companies charge in other states.
This should be a very interesting presentation. We hope Ohio Edison explains in detail how making its inordinately higher rates even more excessive will help the local economy. It has an advantage, however, because the Monday afternoon public forum is scheduled at an inconvenient time for the public.
We would be hard-pressed to offer any support for a rate-hike plan that will further impede economic development in Erie County. And we suggest PUCO schedule additional forums -- perhaps an evening meeting -- so its commissioners are fully informed of the potential ramifications a rate hike will have.
But we won't hold our breath an additional forum will occur. It's important, therefore, that residents and industry representatives be out in full force at the ill-timed PUCO forum March 17.
We'll be there, and we strongly encourage local companies to send representatives and employers to give workers time off that Monday afternoon to go to the hearing, and make clear the potential damage a rate hike could inflict.
In fact, employers, go with your employees. Small businesses would be paying this rate hike, too, and you can speak specifically to the damage.
That's information Ohio Edison and PUCO commissioners need to know.