Consumers ripped off on fuel, cable prices |

Consumers ripped off on fuel, cable prices

We, too, would like to know what happened to the good old days when Summit County gas prices were competitive with Front Range prices.County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom rants about the high local gas prices in a column that appears at the bottom of this page. We add our voice to the chorus. Locals are getting ripped off.We’ll let Gary carry the weight on the issue for today.As for getting ripped off, the same could be said for cable television rates. The Denver Post Monday published a chart that compares basic cable TV rates across the state. Breckenridge was the second highest on the chart at $37.04. By comparison, metro Denver customers pay $33.36.We now are all Comcast cable TV customers. The real point of the Post story was price hikes exceeding inflation. Breckenridge suffered a 6.5 percent hike between 2002 and 2006, much higher than inflation.A Comcast spokesman noted the company, which recently acquired AT&T Broadband, is investing $200 million across the state to upgrade systems and add channels. That is well and good, but since deregulation in 1996 cable TV rates have annually grown over the rate of inflation when investment was often negligible.Comcast is known for getting a 40 percent return on its business. AT&T was only getting about 20 percent, which is one reason why Comcast wanted the company so badly.So don’t fall for cries of poverty from the cable companies and complaints high sports salaries are driving ESPN to charge more for its programming. ESPN may be a contributor to the higher prices, but the cable companies are getting their rate hikes because they can.Anybody got the number for satellite service?Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Abigail Eagye, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.

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