Letters to the Editor

Readers write about power deregulation, interfaith talks, Taliban in Pakistan, and lawyers.

Higher electric bills come from industry's deregulation

In response to the July 25 article, "Fuel cost now driving up electric bills": There is another hidden cause for the increased rates: changes to state and federal regulation of wholesale electricity markets. These changes have provided opportunities for pricing electricity far in excess of actual costs, resulting in large windfall profits for generation owners. Their profits are not being invested back into infrastructure improvements or into building new generating capacity, which raises the specter of shortages of power in the near future.

These problems stem not only from the single clearing price system mentioned in the article, but from the overall deregulation of prices and lack of oversight of these markets by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In the article, a representative of the generation owners, John Shelk, attempts to defend deregulation by claiming identical percentage rate increases in regulated and deregulated states. Because the deregulated rates began at higher levels than in regulated states, comparing percentage increases is misleading. In dollar terms, the disparity between the increases is significant.

Given the resulting hardships for consumers, it is time to question these rate increases much more deeply.

Mark Crisson

President & CEO, American Public Power Association

Interfaith dialogue should help peace

Regarding the July 29 article, "A global bid to connect Muslims and Christians": It's encouraging to read about dialogue between these two Abrahamic faiths. Perhaps this initiative, which is being pursued by the leaders at the highest levels, will result in education, pluralism, and peace for the followers of these faiths, God willing!

These interfaith conferences merit the media's spotlight. Individually and collectively, we must all strive to fulfill the highest ideals of our faiths in order to permanently silence the vocal minority who are pushing an agenda of hate and mistrust.

Dilara Hafiz
Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Move pacification efforts into Pakistan

Regarding your July 21 editorial, "Behind Afghanistan lies Pakistan": I agree that more needs to be done to help Pakistan in its counterinsurgency effort.

Taliban attacks into Afghanistan from Pakistan are effective because the Taliban have a sympathetic population in many parts of Afghanistan. The people in these areas are upset with a weak and corrupt government.

The work we need to do in Afghanistan will be tedious and politically difficult. It will be a long, slow process winning back the disillusioned population in the more unstable parts of the country.

What we do in Pakistan must be, foremost, to help the Pakistanis. What we do in Afghanistan must be to help the Afghans.

John Stettler

Lawyers are great social assets

Regarding Douglas Borer's July 29 Opinion piece, "A better benchmark for Iraq: lawyers": The most important thing I learned in law school was that civilization is the mechanism for the orderly accumulation and transfer of wealth, and that lawyers are the facilitators thereof. It is a truism in the best sense.

"Wealth" includes many assets we don't usually think about, including political power, social standing, and even religion.

Janet Y. Wassmuth
New York

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