News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 5, 2014

Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014

Utilities do need tighter regulation

David Mitchell has rattled our cage with his Feb. 27 rebuttal of Rev. T. Fagg’s Feb. 17 criticism of the electric utility service.

I agree that the language (“steal”) was inappropriate of Rev. Fagg, but I would say that there is a degree of low-level extortion being imposed by our utilities on their customers. You must pay the fees and applicable rates included in your bill or be disconnected, even for little or no usage. And re-connection fees can be unreasonable.

Indiana, in particular, has a wide variation in service fees and rates over which we have virtually no control. The current public utility commission is much weaker than years ago and utilities stretch their limits.

As Mr. Mitchell stated, “the best rates allowed by the state of Indiana.” However, those are the “best rates” for the utility. The poor and average consumer is being squeezed excessively, not to mention Mitch Daniels’ 7 percent state tax on top of it.

Utility service is much different than buying gas at the station. It’s not equal to all. The bigger consumers get lower rates. It appears that Mr. Mitchell is a privileged person with little sentiment to most consumers, and I presume he has a political agenda.

I’m not a Duke Energy customer but quite familiar with them, and my comment is directed to the utility industries in general. My experience in Indiana and the Wabash and Ohio River valleys  has seen vast variation in utilities, and I must agree with generally very good service, though not always efficient or managed well.

We need stronger regulation, more accountability and more representation for people with hardships (we need competition). Like me, we have a lot of experienced utility people in this area and many of those reach out to help in other areas when needed.

— Keith Roehr, Terre Haute

Great work by TV sports staff

On Feb. 19, six senior athletes, their coaches and their families gathered at Terre Haute North High School to sign letters of intent to attend colleges and universities for fall 2014. This was the first time that my wife and I had the privilege to attend and see our granddaughter, Jessi Conley, sign her letter to attend ISU this fall.

It was an unforgettable experience for grandpa and grandma, and as we observed the detail and attention given to the athletes by the media, we took particular notice of one of the sports announcers, Rick Semmler, who is sports director for WTHI-TV.

Then, on the sports broadcast later that evening, we watched the short TV clip that covered all of the athletes. We were impressed by the professional and complete coverage put together by Rick (and staff). It was a wonderful evening, to be sure.

Since that evening we have heard from our friends and relatives how much they enjoy WTHI-TV coverage provided by Rick Semmler and Ross Rowling. Each week, particularly on Friday evening, they put together complete coverage of sporting events occurring throughout the Wabash Valley. And they do this every evening, including the weekends.

We like what they do, and they do it with a high degree of professionalism and dedication.

Rick and Ross (and staff), we compliment you for the work you do, on behalf of sports fans across the Valley; keep up the great work.

— Ron Martin, Terre Haute

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