LETTER TO THE EDITOR: PUDs are efficient and locally operated
October 7, 2008 · 9:51 PM
To the editor:
Have you seen that latest Puget Sound Energy flier warning us about a government takeover of our electrical system?
In these days of government buyouts of big-name investment banks and the like, one has to wonder if capitalism has run amok, and maybe a little oversight by elected officials has some merit.
The government Puget Sound Energy refers to is a public utility district. That’s three locally elected commissioners from Whidbey. These individuals will hire staff to manage and run our electrical system. Unlike Puget Sound Energy and those high-flying investment banks mentioned above, there will be no portion of your rates set aside for profit.
A PUD is no more a government agency than your local water district, the Sno-Isle Library System, your local port district or your water district. You elect its leadership, and if you don’t like how things are done you, walk into their office down the street and talk to a local employee about your concern. Try that with Puget Sound Energy.
Speaking of local employees, a PUD would hire around 200 locals. These people would live here, spend here, use the same electricity you use and, like you, vote here.
If PSE is so concerned about your well-being, then why are they selling out to one of those shaky investment banks — a desperate Australian company (Macquarie) — whose stock price hit near four-year lows yesterday with its market value falling by $14 billion, or more than half, since October last year.
Why does the state attorney general strongly recommend that this sale not take place? Could part of the motivation be the $60 million in bonuses that PSE executives will distribute upon completion of the sale? Isn’t this the same shady business practice that’s being debated in Washington, D.C. for the likes of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae?
I think it’s time we pulled the plug on PSE with its seven rate increases over the last six years, their highest electric rates in the state and their cheesy publicity comparing public power to a government takeover. There’s a reason for the 28 PUDs in the state providing electricity to a million people — they’re efficient, locally controlled, nonprofit and they operate for the benefit of their customers.
If that’s a government takeover, I’ll take it in a heartbeat. Check it out at www.whidbeypud.org.