PUC should deny proposed rate increase
According to case IPC-E-12-27, Idaho Power wants to increase charges on residents who have renewable energy installations (ie. solar power) for their homes. A monthly service charge increase from $5 to $20.92, and a basic load charge increase of 1.48 cents per kWh for residents with renewable energy installations is being proposed. And, Idaho Power does not want a public hearing to boot on its modified procedure!
These high increases on top of the already high upfront cost to install renewable energy sources will discourage citizens from supporting renewable energy. America needs to encourage, not discourage, renewable energy. Hydro-dams have limited life spans and fracked natural gas for power generation is a limited resource. We need long-term thinking on this issue not short-term thinking! I am making a strong request to the Public Utilities Commission to deny this rate charge increase.
RON MARQUART, Boise
IP should look closer at energy alternatives
Once again, Idaho Power is attempting to renege on its stated commitment to encourage the development of small-scale alternative energy sources.
There is a small stream that goes through my farm down a hill to my neighbors farm. After a considerable amount of research and the net-metering policy in place that Idaho Power helped write, my neighbor and I decided to develop a hydro-electric site to take advantage of this renewable energy source. We did not apply for nor receive any federal or state grants or assistance.
This project is an environmentally friendly source of clean, reliable power. It is non-consumptive and non-polluting. We return every drop of water we use back to its natural streambed, changed only in that we remove the trash from it.
Idaho Powers proposal to the PUC to stop providing payment for excess energy produced by net-metering customers customers who built their facilities in the good faith that Idaho Power would honor its agreement is short-sighted, indeed. We producers have invested in the future of Idaho. Is Idaho Power investing only in the bottom line at the end of the year?
JACK GOODMAN, Buhl
Give public a hearing
Idahos PUC should keep the net metering incentive for solar and alternative energy intact. There are 350 individuals and businesses who use net metering, allowing them to get credit or occasionally sell excess energy to the Idaho Power grid. This prevents additional climate change, reduces harmful emissions and creates the groundswell of entrepreneurs for a better future without any big government compliance or coercion. If the true costs of burning 8 million tons of coal at Jim Bridger were calculated, Idaho Power would be paying more than the nominal seven cents to net metering providers.
Yet the net metering program is in jeopardy. Idaho Powers proposal to the PUC on net metering, IPC-E-12-27, is a direct contradiction to the Idaho Energy Plan. It would jack up the monthly service for net metering alternative energy providers from $5 to $20.92 for residential customers and up to $22.49 for general customers.
The Idaho Power proposal would kill the individual incentive to install residential and small business alternative energy. Without a viable net metering incentive, the only alternative will be large government solutions, which Idahoans fear. There must be a public hearing on this issue.
ED WARDWELL, Boise
Task force needs more parents, fewer pols
Did you look at the membership of the governors 31-member task force charged with developing recommendations to improve public education? Wanna guess how many are parents? Parents unencumbered by political or professional oaths? Guess how many are school administrators? Government bureaucrats? Politicians? K-12 teachers? Duh!
This task force is a slap in the face to voters who soundly rejected the 2012 educational reform initiatives. Given the task force membership, meaningful K-12 educational reform is unlikely, as this group will not hear from a key group parents!
If the governor and the State Board were serious about reform, the task force would have been chaired by a parent, the majority membership would have been parents, and the rest would have been front line, in-the-trenches teachers.
This task force is great for a meeting of the Political Turf Protection Society but not for fresh ideas about early childhood education or the requirements of a uniform, thorough and free public education.
See the list at the Idaho State Board of Education homepage. By the way, there are two parent voices.
RUSSELL RUSS JOKI, Meridian
Battle seems certain
On Jan. 23, Rocky Barker posted Corps Faces a Fight over Dredging Behind Lower Snake Dams. On Jan. 24, I attended the Army Corps Lewiston open house on its new 50-year, Snake/Clearwater confluence sediment management plan. Yes, a fight seems certain!
Corps staff said, for example, that an environmental impact statement doesnt require a cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate wise use of taxpayer dollars, although individual projects do. Yet they not only provided no cost-benefit information for the plan, they included none for a project embedded in the plan: a multi-million dollar 2013-14 dredging.
Asked whether it would dredge even if currently declining numbers of barges dropped to zero, they said yes, because they are authorized by Congress to maintain a channel. Accountability to taxpayers apparently doesnt enter Corps thinking.
About 10 years ago, the Corps proposed raising the Lewiston levee for flood control, but has now tabled the levee-raising option for maybe 15 years, even while predicting sediment increases due primarily to accelerating forest fire and weather extremes. More sediment may, of course likely will trigger use of the highly unpopular option.
My takeaway: the government will need to borrow more money and raise both taxes and the levee. The taxpayers option?
ALAN SCHONEFELD, Kooskia
U OF I DEATHS
A feeling of sadness
My daughter will be graduating next May from the University of Idaho. She loves the school and has received a wonderful education. She has also been shaken to her core by the loss of classmates in her short time there. Yes, its part of growing up, and she is a far stronger person now than she was four years ago. But ...
The recent tragedy in Moscow continues the narrative of sadness that has marred our university in the past few years. What must the parents of Joseph Wiederrick be feeling right now? I cannot assign blame. I can only feel sadness. But I can hope that we try to take better care of each other. We are students, teachers, friends, workers. We are imperfect. We fear each other. We must have compassion. We must do that one small thing that might save someones life and give them a chance to live and love. We must.
DANIEL REED, Boise
USPS is no example of inefficiency
I am writing in response to a letter to the editor from Martin V. Duarte regarding the cost effectiveness of government agencies. In his letter Mr. Duarte states, taxpayers fund the difference when agencies come up short, citing the Postal Service as an example.
The Postal Service is an independent agency of the government, and is not taxpayer funded. The USPS is ratepayer funded, meaning when you buy stamps or services from the Postal Service you support the agency.
The USPS is in the news for defaulting on its prefunding requirement. The reason for this is Congress requires a $5.5 billion payment annually to pay for retirees who are not even working for the USPS; some are not even born yet. The Postal Service is the only government agency required to prefund future retirees health benefits. No private sector company is required to prefund these benefits either.
Maybe you think the Postal Service is antiquated? Online orders have created a new opportunity for the USPS; orders are increasing. Who helps get those orders to your house? The USPS does. Do not sell a value to the American public short; rural letter carriers deliver to every house six days a week.
SHARON ATKINS, president, Idaho Rural Letter Carriers Association, Boise
MIND NUMBING DRUGS
Prescriptions are too easy to get
I think a question that is missing in action about the gun control debate and amendments and mentally ill, is the pharmaceutical companies. What do these horrendous tragedies have in common? Besides a gun, the youth are too easily prescribed life-numbing doctor-prescribed antidepressants. If you are to study a culture and society, the introduction of these pharmaceuticals is something to be looked at. Numbing emotion to the point where horrendous acts can be carried out, without those red blaring alarms of general human instinct to tell you this is wrong and a complete disconnect. Its become too easy to prescribe humane numbness to our youth. In turn, the line between right and wrong is beyond blurred. Many items and objects can be used as weapons to the willing. Take them away until the next is acquired and then when all are gone, we will get to the root of it.
STEVEN CORN, Boise