Oppose rate increases and make history

Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2008

Having lived in Juneau for several years before returning home to the East Coast, I was outraged to read about the recent course of events following the destruction of a large portion of power lines on April 16, and the city's response to this situation.

To ask the tax payers of Juneau to expect a 447 percent increase in their electric bills at a time when our economy is experiencing a major recession is both unfair and unjust. Also appalling was the emergency plan (Editor's note: The plan is now on hold) that suggested a loan of $3 million to Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. to absorb the rate hike over 12 months - a plan which favors "profits" over "people."

The most humane step to take would be for our federal government to step in and provide the needed funding to subsidize the rate increases and needed repairs, but with $3 trillion going to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, funds are limited in this country to rebuild and reinforce our crumbling infrastructure.

In her book "The Shock Doctrine" journalist Naomi Klein puts forth the idea that large corporations take advantage of people in times of disasters. She describes "the shock doctrine" as the public's disorientation following massive collective shock such as war, terrorist attack or natural disasters, and corporation's response by advancing their "for profit" agenda at the expense of the average person's loss.

It's my hope that the people of Juneau fight back after this disaster and find an organized groundswell of opposition to the rate increases and repair costs being demanded of them. When people rise up in large numbers to find better life-sustaining solutions in the wake of disasters, the outcome can be history-making.

Francine Porter

Glenshaw, Pa.

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