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Letter to the editor: Examining Torrington’s utility rates

Modified: Wednesday, Apr 10th, 2013

Lately, reading the Telegram is an education of how little some reporters understand about governance, especially what it takes to formulate utility rates. Like much of the media today, more opinion is written than facts reported.

Wednesday’s March 27 front page article is meant to be a correction for a week previous error-packed story, yet continues with more errors. There will NOT be a 2012 $2.50 service availability increase. It will be $1.25 if the ordinance is passed on third reading or nothing if rejected by the council. It is best to attend meetings to get things correct or be on the committee as I was when the formula was figured.

The opinion page continues with much unsupported misinformed opinion. The editor says, “For Torrington, it continues a trend of rates that I find to be inexplicitly high.”

Inexplicitly come from the Latin word inexplicitus meaning not straightforward or clear (editor’s note: the word used was “inexplicable”). Attend staff/council meetings, etc., and educate yourself on governance and how and why rates are figured.

For years after the EPA mandated how/why Torrington would remove nitrates from its drinking water, it has become somewhat more expensive. Rates are not figured on a whim or as a punishment. Torrington has an over 50-mile water system, and 90 percent needs replaced at a cost of over $220 per foot, or $1,161,600 per mile.

For years, rates were artificially low to protect one of the states lowest economic areas. Little or no money has been set aside for replacement.

The PSC publication of electric rates for 4-3-13 shows Torrington with the fourth-lowest rates in the state, which is 101 incorporated entities and 99 unincorporated entities. The Public Service Commission uses a 750 kilo-watt hour usage example.

For 750KW usage and service charge, Torrington charges $56.75. Wyrulec (Goshen County) is $110.35. Park County is highest at $129.47. Pinedale charges $74.50, where the editor lived at one time.

Torrington’s water base rate is 8,000 gallons for $25 and could go to $26.25 with the 2013 increase. Compare that to Douglas, which doesn’t have to process nitrates from its water and yet charges $36.45 for 6,000 gallon base rate. Where is Torrington’s continued trend of rates the editor finds inexplicably high?

How many studies has the opinion writer completed, read or helped to write during his short lifetime? How many city, county or state committees or boards has he served on or attended?

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