Shale gas benefits lacking
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania's request for a rate increase was approved. I'm shocked! Its reason? It wants to implement “a distribution system improvement charge” (“Columbia Gas gets pipeline charge OK,” March 15 and TribLIVE.com).
Utilities are a protected class and don't play by the same rules as a private enterprise. To a private entity, improving a distribution system means buying new trucks, but the cost must come from its profit. Had Columbia been reinvesting its profits over the years to regularly maintain its aging infrastructure, it would not have found itself in this predicament. Why should Columbia expect its customers to inherit that burden?
The other gas companies won't be denied rate increases, either, and you can expect the same old same old. If they want a 15-percent increase, ask for 30 percent; the state Public Utility Commission will give them half. They get what they originally wanted and the PUC looks like it did something good. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.
How does the Marcellus shale boom figure into this? It appears that the gas companies and drillers are the only ones benefiting. The boom should reduce natural gas prices because it is a natural resource that belongs to the residents of the commonwealth. If it's sold to another state, it should be taxed accordingly, and if it's exported to another country, it should be taxed significantly.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.