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MetroNews - Kessler Says Freezing Utility Rates Not Doable

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Acting state Senate President Jeff Kessler doesn't agree with fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Treasurer John Perdue when it comes to the state Public Service Commission.

During an appearance Monday on MetroNews Talkline Kessler agreed rising utility rates are a concern but freezing those rates isn't the answer.

"You saw what happened with price freezes under the Nixon administration, as soon as they lift that cap baby look where it goes. It went through the roof," Kessler said. "A cap may be politically popular; I don't think it's doable."

Perdue has focused his campaign on increases in utility rates. He's promised freezes and a rollback in rates.

A Republican candidate has called for members of the state PSC to be elected instead of appointed like they are now.

Bad idea according to Kessler.

"If they think it's too political now---you wait until you start electing politicians to serve on the Public Service Commission for goodness sakes. You'll have a real nightmare on your hands. I think that would be a terrible mistake," Kessler said.

The acting Senate President says what's really needed to fight rate hikes is a strong advocate for state residents.

Kessler's message has focused on a plan to take advantage of Marcellus Shale drilling in the Mountain State. He says the state could actually use the money to pay its bills, but also save money for the future.

MetroNews Talkline Host Hoppy Kercheval is interviewing the gubernatorial hopefuls in the days leading up to the May 14 primary election.

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