Letter to the Editor: ARPA Public Hearing

Letters to the Editor (2)

I have a few thoughts to share after attending the ARPA public hearing on June 11th.

First, I agree the wisest thing to do at this point is to decommission and scrap the defective power plant. But why stop there? As long as we are getting rid of one ill-considered, poorly functioning, expensive conglomeration, why not do two at once and disband ARPA?

I admit I may not have all the facts at this point, because frankly, many questions at this meeting were (in my opinion) left unanswered. It seems to me that ARPA thinks if they can just get rid of the power plant, we consumers will forget all about those few teeny little mistakes – all in the past! – and then stop bugging them with our complaints about sky-high electricity rates.

We heard they MIGHT be able to get some money from the manufacturer of the Little Boiler that Couldn’t, and that MIGHT be used to lower rates. No explanation of why it took all this time for them to finally decide to sue, or why they not only PAID for the boiler but ALSO for the ongoing attempts to make it run with (our) ARPA funds. Rick Rigel just vaguely repeated that the manufacturer wasn’t contractually obligated to, oh, stand behind their product or anything like that.

Let’s say you take your car in to the shop because it needs a new radiator. After you pay and take it home, it starts to leak and then blows up. You complain to the shop and they say, “Hey, not our problem! Fix it on your own dime!”

What normal person would take that as a reasonable answer?

We heard lots of “we can’ts” at this meeting. No mention of the “yes they could and yes they did” examples of Trinidad and Raton, who ARE out from under this mess with no negative consequences.

But ARPA “can’t” default on the loans and let the liability insurance cover them. “Can’t” make the price of electricity go back down. “Can’t” come up with any answers at all – yet for some reason, they seem to think this very same ARPA should be allowed to just continue being in charge of our problem-ridden power grid!

I think the Arkansas River Power Authority is way too focused on “power” and “authority”, while totally ignoring the “Arkansas River” dwelling citizens it is supposed to be working for!

I hope people will continue to attend these public meetings and push for some real solutions, instead of more “can’ts”. We all know the whole southeast is losing population, jobs and businesses. We will never get new businesses here when our power rates are so much higher than what other regions charge.

If we don’t find some actual solutions, then the cluttered concrete slab at the site of the former power plant is going to be Lamar’s tombstone. It will read, “We gave it a heck of a try for a hundred-thirty-some years, but eventually the “can’ts” killed us.”

Susan Crites
Lamar, CO

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