Hello and welcome to another installment of Ask Reddy Kilowatt.
The iconic former power company mascot, with his red lightning-bolt body and light bulb nose, has agreed to come back and answer more of your burning questions about Avista’s latest attempt to put all of us in the poorhouse.
So let the lamp of truth flicker …
Q: The following headline – “Avista asks for hike in natural gas rates” – appeared in the newspaper just the other day.
R. Kilowatt: I saw that too.
Q: Well, maybe I’m getting senile, Reddy. But didn’t I see practically the same headline like a month ago?
R. Kilowatt: Naw, your mind’s just fine. In fact, a variation of “Avista seeking rate hike” is the newspaper’s second most-repeated headline.
Q: Second? What’s No. 1?
R. Kilowatt: “Mariners lose again.”
Q: That makes sense.
R. Kilowatt: Yeah, that headline has been on top since 1977.
Q: But getting back to the power company. One month it’s a gas hike. Next time it’s an electric hike. Then it’s back to gas. … I’ll bet this gets monotonous, even for Avista, huh?
R. Kilowatt: Oh, no. Power company officials have this complex formula for individualizing each one of their proposed rate hikes.
Q: Can you give me some examples?
R. Kilowatt: Sure. There’s the boss-needs-a-new-yacht hike. Then there’s the payoff-to-the-Washington- Utilities-Commission hike. Oh, yeah. And one time there was a Senate-junket-to-Dubai hike.
Q: That would make it more personal. But didn’t I read in the story that this proposed 9.4 percent gas increase was not about boosting profit margin?
R. Kilowatt: Mmmph. Glmmph …
Q: Are you laughing at me, Reddy?
R. Kilowatt: Maybe just a little. Give me a moment.
Q: OK. I’ll change the subject. I just got one of those Energy Report Cards that showed me failing in a black bar against all my green and energy-efficient neighbors.
R. Kilowatt: And your point is?
Q: Just who the heck are these greenie eco-jerks, anyway?
R. Kilowatt: Oh, them? They don’t, um, actually exist.
R. Kilowatt: Sure. Nobody’s that efficient except maybe some undiscovered Amazon tribe that has yet to discover fire.
R. Kilowatt: So the whole report card thing is just a dodge to keep ratepayers off balance.
Q: Why would Avista do that?
R. Kilowatt: If you’re gonna pick a guy’s pocket, it helps if he’s looking the other way.
Q: That’s horrible.
R. Kilowatt: Thank you. We got it from the IRS.
Q: But doesn’t anyone over at Avista realize that if they keep raising rates the ratepayers will eventually go broke?
R. Kilowatt: Absolutely. Which is why Avista will soon unveil its “Free Power for Life Plan.”
Q: Free power? How does that work?
R. Kilowatt: Say you’re the ratepayer, right?
R. Kilowatt: Well, you agree to sign over your weekly paycheck.
R. Kilowatt: And Avista gives you free electricity and gas.
Q: For life?
R. Kilowatt: Or 36 months, whichever comes sooner.
Q: But, but … If I give Avista my paycheck, how am I supposed to eat?
R. Kilowatt: Don’t worry. Avista will soon be unveiling another brand new offer …
Q: I can hardly wait.
R. Kilowatt: … “Free Soup for Life!”
Q: That Avista thinks of everything, huh?
R. Kilowatt: And all so you won’t have to.
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