Expenses are going up and there’s little we can do about it.
Over the last week, we’ve got this:
On Friday, SEPTA proposed a 6 percent increase to its 2011 budget after the Obama Administration communicated reluctance in turning I-80 (east to west, center of the state) into a toll road. Tokens could go up to $1.55. Transfers would be a buck. Monthly TransPasses would go up $5 and we wouldn’t even reach the late 20th-century with SmartPass cards. Off-peak fares would be history.
It's also been reported that as the national average of gas prices creeped up a penny this weekend, Philly’s prices went with it. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase of six cents per gallon.
PECO, too, will be able to go hog wild at year’s end. Their post-1996 deregulation rate caps are expiring at the end of the year and according to certain Council members, costs will go up anywhere from 10%-50%.
Right now, it looks like only PECO can be stopped. And City Councilman Darrell Clarke has an idea. The 5th District councilman recently introduced the creation of an energy co-op, called the Philadelphia Energy Authority. He told WHYY, “After these caps come off [in other cities] we've seen between a 25 to 50 percent increase in energy costs associated with that.”
The co-op would be a city-run energy agency that could buy electricity itself on the wholesale market for a cheaper price, much like the proposed “public option” for national health care that’s sort of come and gone and come and (gone again?)
The creation of a co-op could get messy and Clarke left blank the section explaining how the five-member governing board overseeing the operation would be appointed.
The Pennsylvania Retail Energy Supply Association’s (Mission: “Competitive retail energy markets deliver a more efficient, customer-oriented outcome than regulated utility structure”; President: Hess Corporation Director of Regulatory Affairs Jay Kooper) chairman, Ritchie Hudson, told WHYY, “The doom and gloom scenarios are a bit overblown” – since PECO has bought enough energy for use through 2011.