LETTER TO THE EDITOR: PSE postcard filled with spin
October 10, 2008 · Updated 4:52 PM
To the editor:
Untruths and distortions were packed onto that large postcard financed by Puget Sound Energy.
Puget Sound Energy is channeling money through the Seattle PR firm Strategies 360 to create the astroturf (fake grassroots) group Whidbey Consumers for Affordable Energy that mailed the card to all of us.
I’ve gotta unspin a few things.
A public utility district (PUD) is not a government agency. Neither is a water district, hospital district, port district or parks district. A district is ownership and governance by local people who budget and hire administrative experts as needed. The blank check rhetoric of Puget Sound Energy is designed to scare.
A PUD vote is not for immediate, autocratic taxes (Puget Sound Energy’ blank check scare). It’s to fund (for a few dollars per household) an intensive study of feasibility followed by a publicly vetted yea or nay to proceed toward borrowing and funding a PUD.
The postcard rattles a spectre of PUD higher rates. This distracts us from Puget Sound Energy’s coming plan to raise rates as much as 12 percent. (Puget Sound Energy had rate raises seven times in the last six years.)
The $130 million equipment price tag on the card violently conflicts with the $40 million value PSE swore to in 2007 property tax negotiations with the Department of Revenue.
Puget Sound Energy touts green power. Reality: It’s just
1 percent of Puget Sound Energy output while dirty coal accounts for 37 percent. A PUD would have 80 percent of output assured by law from clean, renewable hydroelectric.
A final caution: The vote in November is not between a known-right-now Puget Sound Energy vs. a future unknown PUD; it’s between a different, more expensive, less accountable Macquarie/Puget Sound Energy and a PUD similar to 23 others in the state.