In today’s Wichita Eagle, Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Democratic member of the Kansas Senate representing parts of north-central and northeast Wichita, writes this in a letter to the editor:
I would like to commend Mayor Carl Brewer and the Wichita City Council for having the courage to vote down a rate increase for water and sewer charges for customers in our city (“Water rates to hold steady,” June 17 Local & State). As we continue to face economic down times, I am very concerned about our senior citizens and people with disabilities who are on fixed incomes and struggling to make ends meet. This increase would have certainly added an additional financial burden for them in paying utility bills.
The proposed rate increase Faust-Goudeau refers to was in the amount of $2.00 per month.
I suppose it’s admirable that she’s looking out for the interests of her constituents in this matter. But her concern is selective.
The problem is that Faust-Goudeau voted against the expansion of the Holcomb Station coal-fired electricity generating plant. Her votes mean that Kansas would have to rely on wind power backed by natural gas, which is much more expensive than relying on electricity generated by coal.
Wind power is very expensive, despite being heavily subsidized by the federal government through the production tax credit.
It’s so expensive that Westar, the electrical utility that serves Wichita and Faust-Goudeau’s constituents, has had to ask for several rate increases recently. The cost of wind power was cited in some of the requests.
One of these rate increases was estimated to add $10 per month to the cost of electricity for the average house.
Part of the reason for the water department’s rate increase request is to fund capital improvements the department needs to make sure it can continue to deliver water now and well into the future.
Paying much higher electric bills just so we can build more windmills to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, and even if it did exist, can’t be solved with windmills in Kansas: that’s a burden that no one should have to pay.
Not even Faust-Goudeau herself, no matter how she votes in the Kansas Senate.