After reading the May 6 column, “AEP plugs into its own reality,” by Editorial Page Editor Michael Douglas, I was extremely disappointed that Douglas continues to only tell one side of this very complex issue.

As president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio, I want to make one thing very clear — we fully support the move to a fully competitive electricity retail market.

FirstEnergy and Douglas would have you believe that we are against competition. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Our plan is a balanced plan offering our customers and our communities reliable service at some of the lowest regulated rates in the state and the country. Far from hindering competition, it offers competitive retailers deep discounts for use of our generation facilities to serve customers and make a profit.

Douglas states that FirstEnergy embraced deregulation after the state’s initial foray in 1999. What he doesn’t tell you is that AEP Ohio was prepared to do the same at that time until we were asked by the PUCO to delay our move to competition. They had good reason to do so — it kept electricity prices lower than competitive market rates.

It was the right thing to do for our customers, saving them from extremely high rates for electricity. It was a request that continued until last year, when the economy began to change, and, for the first time, competitive market offers were lower than AEP Ohio’s prices.

Douglas also states that FirstEnergy followed the timetable for a transition to competition. That’s true, but its recovery of nearly $7 billion in transition costs was more than “accounting,” as Douglas wrote. It involved the actual recovery of $7 billion from its customers. FirstEnergy itself argued it needed this financial assistance to offset the costs associated with a transition to a competitive market and took more than eight years to do so.

AEP just seeks to be governed by the same basic fairness. Our plan, similar to what the PUCO has approved in other cases, will allow AEP Ohio to make a transition to a competitive market very quickly and at a low cost to customers.

Then-Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman James Cawley recently expressed concern regarding FirstEnergy’s retail marketing strategy in Ohio and its effect on Pennsylvania. The company’s strategy “will result in the stifling of competition. … The result will be higher prices and fewer choices for customers than if a fully competitive market was to develop,” he said.

In order for the competitive marketplace to work, Ohio must have multiple competitors. If our plan is approved, Ohioans will have strong competitors to consider as they choose what company will be their electricity provider. So, the question is: Who really is against competition in Ohio?

Pablo Vegas

President and chief operating officer

AEP Ohio


Campaigns of?raw ambition

Is it just me, or does it seem that Mitt Romney’s presidential run and Josh Mandel’s Senate candidacy are just more things to check on their bucket lists?

Are consistent lies, obfuscation and raw personal ambition the core ingredients needed to confuse citizens about the difference between public service and personal gain? Let’s hope not. This nation and state deserve better.

Greg Brozeit


Attitude and ?misunderstanding

After reading Bob Dyer’s May 13 article, “?‘PC’ push simply gets in the way,” I was both amazed and appalled by his pompous and callous delivery. It is not a “secret language rule” that advocates for people with disabilities do not want the “condition” used as an adjective.

Dyer is entitled to his opinion, but his entitlement was expressed with such an aggressive swagger that it made his argument (or lack of) very offensive.

At least he was right about one thing — words do have power.

Dyer not only undermined professionals (on so many levels), but made sweeping generalizations about an entire population that is far from being fully understood and still in dire need of funding for research.

According to him, austism is an “unfortunate-but-manageable condition.” Unfortunately, autism, like so many other disabilities, is not as simplistic as Dyer professed.

The reason for “PC” is because stigmatizations label and affect people adversely. We do not refer to baseball players as “people who play baseball” because baseball is not connoted in any negative manner.

Dyer seemed so pleased with his clever rebuttal against Dr. Jan Manes; however, while he was busy pointing his finger at “a language law dictated by people with good intentions but a tin ear for common sense,” perhaps he should have realized that he had three fingers pointing right back at him.

Who is Dyer to dictate what “trivia” is and what “is a meaningless distinction that doesn’t belong anywhere on the autism agenda”? He does not appear to have any professional experience in working with this population.

Likewise, freedom of press is not always a good thing. Sometimes we have to put up with retorts that are profoundly immature, distasteful and ignorant.

It is unfortunate that Dyer has difficulty with something as simple as showing the courtesy of addressing persons before “conditions.”

Unlike arrogance, closed-mindedness and boastful belligerence, respect and compassion are traits that benefit everyone.

Josy DeWilde


Who’s minding ?the slot machines?

Cleveland Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert has the distinction of having fired the NBA’s most-winning coach (61 wins, 21 losses in 2009-10) and replaced him with one of most-losing coaches (19 wins and 63 losses in 2010-11, at the very bottom of the NBA, and 21 wins and 45 losses in the 2011-2012 season, third from the bottom).

With this distinctive record of achievement, should Gilbert consider firing himself from the Cavs so he can concentrate on his wins and losses at the Horseshoe Casino?

Sam Salem


Return to ?equal opportunity

Fair shot or fair share? That is the question.

We all should recall America’s benefits were discovered only by taking a huge risk in life and treasure. The people who followed Columbus escaped so that they could have a shot at the promise of freedom.

It is an inherent belief that hard work pays off. Observe the robin’s instinct to build a sturdy nest and care for its young, often returning each spring to the same nest.

Being given a fair shot emulates the simple rules and laws of nature. You either work hard doing what is right, or you work hard doing wrong.

And this is where we find the man-made dilemma of our present society and government. The political discourse, reasons and choices that are now playing out in this election have everything to do with freedom of opportunity, “a fair shot,” a basic right to most Americans.

This fight over how to remedy the economy has divided our country more than we realize. Every institution is in disarray, including the government, the family, religion and business.

These fragile, often misguided human endeavors are all intertwined with the modern-day politics of maintaining the status quo.

For most of us, it is a frustrating struggle to keep up with the changes over one’s lifetime and to make the effort to understand what we hear, see or read each day.

We appear to be running away from our basic principles of self-governance and the freedoms and the truths that established our country in the first place.

Do we have the courage to make the tough choices to change the course of history for a new, healthier America?

Richard J. Mansell


Allow marriage for ?all loving couples

Thank you, Elaine Fisher, for your truthful and to-the-point letter regarding the president’s support of same-sex marriage (“Principled president, May 15).

How much longer must we endure the “traditional” concept of marriage that’s being sullied by every celebrity on the planet (Kardashians, anyone?), while those in loving, faithful and devoted relationships are being denied the opportunity to solidify their commitment with a vow or ceremony?

Do not thump the Bible at me. I was raised reading that book. Let’s also not forget the verses expressing all were created in God’s image and that if “any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.”

None who live on Earth today is worthy of judging any other, and none who lives on Earth today knows what is truly in the heart of another.

I can honestly tell you, I meet more hypocrites in church than I do in a bar or on the street.

Jennifer Turley