The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

March 2, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, March, 2, 2013

PSC needs to look closely at proposal

I cannot speak for all West Virginians but I do know that people in the coalfields cannot afford increased electric bills that would come from Appalachian Power’s proposal to purchase overvalued coal generation from Ohio. If the West Virginia PSC allows Appalachian Power to purchase this coal fired generation, the bill would be passed on to the customers.

This deal smells of corporate greed from the start, and is completely against more workable solutions, solutions such as aggressive investments in energy efficiency which would lower our bills and create jobs — 19,000 stable jobs to quote one estimate.

Energy efficiency is not some nice rural idea such as West Virginians have lived for generations. Energy efficiency is a national effort that creates those 19,000 jobs in West Virginia — alone.

This proposed purchase of electric generation would unnecessarily cost West Virginia homeowners and business owners very large amounts of money — money that could go to much better use.

I encourage the Public Service Commission to require Appalachian Power to invest in energy efficiency rather than this obvious under the table corporate shift of numbers — a very expensive hidden handshake and wink on the golf course.

Al Justice

War

Raising awareness about gambling

March 3-9 is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. As director of West Virginia’s 1-800-GAMBLER program I often hear about lives destroyed because treatment wasn’t sought in time.

People tell me how they plow their whole paycheck into a slot machine, or cash their Social Security check at the bingo hall only to walk out empty-handed. They say they started out gambling for fun, or thinking they could win money to pay bills, but became desperate to win back the money they lost.

An estimated 1 percent of the population has a gambling addiction, and another 2 to 3 percent show symptoms of the disorder. We have received almost 11,000 calls for help from people here in West Virginia, and 359 of those calls came from Raleigh County.

Almost a third of our callers admit resorting to illegal activities, like embezzling from their workplace, writing bad checks or stealing from their family, to finance their gambling.

Many of our callers have lost their job or their marriage due to gambling addiction.  Some say they have even left their children unattended to gamble. We often hear from angry spouses who were unaware of their loved one’s gambling addiction until they discovered mortgage payments were missed or their savings and retirement accounts were drained.

The good news is that we have a great program in this state to help problem gamblers, and treatment really works. Statewide, we have over 90 therapists who specialize in gambling addiction treatment. Most people who seek help from us are able to recover.

If you or someone you love is spending too much time or money gambling, call us at 1-800-GAMBLER for free help.

Patty Deutsch

Director, Problem Gamblers Help Network of West

Virginia

Charleston

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