Thursday letters: Utilities’ basic fees a travesty

June 20, 2013 

— I totally agree with what letter writers Donna Stewart (“SCE&G always gets its way,” May 31) and Helen Foley (“PSC favors utility over the public,” June 9) wrote concerning SCE&G and the Public Service Commission. In addition, I would like to point out the “Basic Facility Charge” of $10.90 that appears on our monthly gas bill. I only use gas from SCE&G, so I don’t know the fee for those using their electricity.

Nonetheless, think of how much money the utility gets from everyone. During much of the year, we do not use any gas, but regardless, we are charged the “Basic Facility Charge.” Our most recent gas bill was for $14.36: $10.90 for “Basic Facility Charge” and $3.46 for gas used. Should the PSC allow this? Is this fair and just?

In December of 2007 the PSC authorized Southland Utilities, Inc. to increase it’s rates and charges. We are charged a bimonthly “Water Base Charge” of $31.70 plus another $5.76 fee. On our most recent water bill we were charged $30 for water used and $37.46 in fees. Another travesty.

For the life of me, I cannot understand the justification for these “basic fees.” Obviously, utilities are in business to make money. So why don’t they just charge a fair price for their commodity like every other business does?

But then, maybe those other businesses are missing out on a good thing. Maybe supermarkets, drug stores, department stores, gas stations and others should charge a “basic fee” for having their merchandise available. Why not? The utilities get away with it.

Jessie Sargent

West Columbia

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