Lack of electrical reliability was big on the list of complaints heard by the Wyoming Public Service Commission at a public hearing Thursday in Casper.

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The Wyoming Public Service Commission took comments on the electricity rate increase request from Rocky Mountain Power; currently at around 80 million, or an on average, 18 percent increase. The increase would mean another 12 dollars on the average household bill.

Resistance to a rate increase is inflamed by increased power outages.

Casper Mayor, Paul Bertoglio, told the commission outages are a public safety issue.

"Loss of power means loss of traffic signals.  It means loss of our ability to communicate with police officers. It means our water treatment plant goes down. It becomes a very big issue for us."

Area resident, Dick Sadler, spoke for the private householder.

"Somebody asks me why I don't go to the gym anymore and I say,' hell, I get my exercise just trotting round my house resetting my clocks.' The outage problems are a serious problem here and I don't think those people should get any kind of an increase until they solve this problem."

Bob Pomeroy, Attorney for the Wyoming Industrial Energy Consumers, a group with the money and know-how to analyze Rocky Mountain Power's claims in support of their requested increase, says, they found inflated cost projections.

"Our expert investigations uncovered over 50 separate elements that we take issue with. And every single one of those 50 adjustments would lower rates for all classes of customers."

Rocky Mountain Power Officials defend the increase as necessary to keep up with rising demand. Another public hearing takes place later this month in Cheyenne.