At this point, with inflation, it seems to be easier to assume that all prices are going to go up

April 3 – Reporting is predicting gas prices could hit $4 per gallon by summer. 

Pawn shops are seeing higher traffic because people are hocking items for quick cash. 

Credit card debt is ballooning. 

Tax day is also around the corner. A recent Fox poll found 64% of voters say taxes are too high. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “If you want more of what you are facing then all you need to do is vote for Biden again. The southern border, your schools, an out and out evil in my opinion being used to dissolve social norms, social values, traditions in the last handful of years. All of this money crunch it’s getting tighter and tighter. I’d like to think that the Independents and a sound minded Democrat are finally going enough.”

Yesterday West Penn Power filed an application with the Public Utility Commission asking for a 10.6% increase for residential electric rates effective June 1. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll added, “If you’re on the Penelec system, they filed asking for a 9.8% increase for residential customers, commercial customers would be closer to about a 5% increase. Now we don’t know if the PUC will approve that, obviously, but these are things that are real pocketbook pain issues. Everybody has an electric bill, whether you’re living in a house, an apartment, if you own a business, this is going to spill out into the economy and that’s a big increase for people. Gas prices continue to tick up. A lot of the analysts think you are going to see gas go over $4 a gallon by the summer. Gas typically goes up anyway in the summer when they do that summer blend. These are real pressure points and there really doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight. This thing now about the electricity rates, it seems like we’re ramping up again and not in a very good way.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “West Penn Power, that’s FirstEnergy. I have that as do very many people in south central Pennsylvania. That would be horrific. My electric bills are already going up. I had two people leave my household out at three. I haven’t seen a reduction in my electric bills. I feel like the approval process, I always feel like it’s a little bit of the Overton window. They ask for 10% and then they get 8%, while the state cheers, look how we kept it down to 8%, but 8% is what they really wanted in the first place. I don’t know why but it always seems like there’s a little bit of a reduction, but it’s still 8% added to everybody’s bills, that would be awful. If people don’t think about things like minimum wage, there’s another one that’s squeezing the middle. They’re talking about how that went to that astronomical rate in California for fast food and in many businesses. The big companies can afford that. It’s the smaller companies that even if they’re not forced to do it via the size of their company, they have to compete and they can’t do it. So they go out of business. We’re seeing the middle getting squeezed by so many of these policies and remember, Shapiro wants to put that cap and trade policy in for Pennsylvania. I don’t know if First Energy’s anticipating that or if there’ll be an additional ask after that goes into effect.”

Barkdoll said, “Here’s what bugs me about this First Energy request in particular. If you look at their press release yesterday afternoon, they list a number of things they want to do. So on this West Penn piece, they’re saying this would generate about $169 million in additional revenue. That’s just the West Penn piece of FirstEnergy. They’ve got all these other companies that would also be generating more money. They’re saying they want to improve the grid. They do more things like cutting back trees, etc. So I just happened to then go to the SEC, I looked at First Energy’s annual report for 2023. They had earnings of over $1.1 billion. So it’s not like they’re losing money. They actually issued even higher guidance for 20244 for their earnings. So it’s not like they’re losing money or breaking even. They seem to be really doing well, from a financial shareholder perspective. I don’t know if the PUC takes any of that into consideration. If I’m a PUC commissioner, I would be really examining them about how well they seem to be doing financially now asking for these massive increases.”