On Nov. 5, I attended a public hearing on SCE&Gs proposed rate increase in order to speak of the harm high-cost electricity has on industrial and commercial business.

As an executive for a large company, I analyze the cost of doing business for a living, but this letter is not about industrial power rates or economic development.

I left the hearing with a hole in my heart, hurting for the folks most vulnerable in our community who are drastically affected by the steady increase in the cost of basic needs, such as electricity and gas.

The cost of power should not force people to choose between freezing in the winter or eating; between sweltering in the summer or flushing the toilet and buying medicine.

SCE&Gs parent company just reported earnings of $122 million for its third quarter a day after hearing firsthand the desperation of SCE&Gs customers.

SCE&Gs request for an increase in rates is cold-hearted and cruel in these harsh economic times.

I challenge the utility to listen to its customers, initiate a cease-fire on rate increases and instead, create an energy assistance program to aid the less fortunate.

The low-use residential tariff should be increased to 800 kWh and the rate reduced to help those in most need.

When rates rise faster than the cost of living it hurts the poor disproportionately. The last word at the hearing came from the friend of an 80-year-old lady struggling to pay her power bill. It was Shame on you SCE&G.

This is not right.

SCE&G and its officers are doing quite well earning millions of dollars, but its customers are suffering.

Are you listening, Public Service commissioners?

GRANT REEVES

Pelican Bay Drive

Awendaw