Letters to the Editor: Oct. 22, 2014 

Education woefully underfunded

On Wednesday, I read Thomas L. Furlong’s letter (Commentary, Letters, “Is national comparison fair?”, Aug. 20, Oklahoma Gazette) which told us, “In that regard [spending to personal income ratio], I would contend Oklahoma education is not underfunded.” On Thursday, I saw the front page of The Oklahoman, which said, “Teacher shortage hits statewide.”

From fiscal years 2008 to 2014, Oklahoma cut education spending per student by 22.8 percent (adjusted for inflation). That was more than any other state. I contend that Oklahoma education is woefully underfunded.

Michael Hopkins Norman

Investment double-take

Mitt Romney makes his money by buying businesses, reorganizing them and then selling them for a large profit. He disclosed in 2011 that he paid 13.9 percent of his $20 million annual income in federal income taxes. A generation ago, his father, George Romney, was president of the AMC car company [American Motors], which made millions of good, economical cars. He made a good salary for the 1950s and 1960s, about $500,000. He released 12 years of tax returns and he paid twice the taxes, about 30 percent, than his inventor son did. The tax system should not tax work twice as much as owning investments.

Randall L. Smith Butler

Distributed generation

Oklahoma Corporation Commission is now holding committee meetings in accordance with Senate Bill 1456 to determine a surcharge to impose on people who contribute clean energy to the grid using net metering.

The claim is that by reducing their utility bills, they avoid the portion of those bills that go to the maintenance of the power lines, thus shifting that cost onto other ratepayers. It ignores the benefits that people investing in their homes bring to the power grid.

For one thing, most of the energy is used at generator’s home, so there are no transmission losses and no fuel burned to produce that electricity. Only around 20 percent of the energy from the fossil fuel reaches the customer; the bulk of it is lost in generation, voltage conversions and transmission. So the fuel saved is significant. Also, any excess generation will go to neighbor’s houses, with only minimal transmission loss.

These contributions reduce the utility’s need to build new plants, they help it meet environmental regulations and they increase the generation capacity by reducing apparent demand. They help meet peak load requirements and reduce the loads on the transmission and distribution subsystems.

There have now been a number of studies done on the cost/benefits of solar energy and determining the best method to calculate them.

As OG&E’s base charge is $18 per customer per month plus about 5.73 cents/kwh, we see that they are already charging for line maintenance and are benefiting greatly from distributed generation contributions.

So we see that the assumptions of SB 1456 are unwarranted and that the actual effect of distributed generation is positive for everyone.

— Joel Olson Moore

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Michael Hopkins

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