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From January, 2008 through January, 2009 LCEC electric rates increased four times for a total increase of some $54 per month for the typical electric customer, an increase of 44 percent. In early 2009, greatly concerned about this troubling trend, the city of Marco Island, along with the city of Cape Coral, began exploratory discussions on the possible takeover of the electric company (municipalization). Having spent most of my working years in the electric utility business, I was convinced that our city was subsidizing the rest of LCEC's service territory and our goal was to try and work with LCEC to stabilize and lower rates. Many criticized the city's "threatening" of LCEC with takeover as an unfair method for getting their attention on electric rates. The city's strategy, however, has proven to be a good one.

Since February 2009 there have been absolutely no forms of electric-rate increases. There have, however, been several rate decreases. Overall, LCEC electric costs have dropped since 2009 by some 24 percent or $42 a month for the typical electric customer. These numbers are approximate but the excellent performance by LCEC is accurate.

When the issue of possible takeover was being debated in early 2009, Denny Hamilton, LCEC's chairman, committed to taking Marco Island electric rates very seriously. LCEC's electric rates are now amongst the lowest in Florida and Mr. Hamilton has more than met that commitment and should be commended for a job well done. My kudos to LCEC.

John Arceri

Marco Island

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Try to keep letters at 200 words or fewer. Guest columns should be 600 words or fewer. Because we can't publish letters that can't be verified, your name, address and daytime telephone number must be included. All letters are subject to editing for clarification and length. Letters that contain personal attacks or libelous statements will be edited or rejected. We prefer to have letters submitted in electronically transmitted form. However, we will accept typed or handwritten letters, provided the handwriting is legible. Send to Editor, Sun Times, 847 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, FL 34145. Email to joe@misuntimes.com or call 450-2030.

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