A comment from Charles Kite of Skamania Landing, WA:
Having lived in a rural area near Vancouver, WA (The Columbia Gorge Scenic Area), and visited with friends who live in a sparsely populated part of Hawaii (near Kona), I have to be very concerned about utility privatization.
In Washington, my telephone company couldn't/wouldn't provide distinctive ring service until this spring so I could have a separate fax "line" without paying for two separate numbers. The "ability" was in their computer, just not worth trotting out to their customers. My friends in Hawaii couldn't get a private line, and surfing the Internet on a party line was problematic at best. I had thought party lines were a relic of my youth! In both cases, the utility is privatized but there's no one to compete with.
A comment from Daniel Lashof of Washington, DC:
Can there be full and fair competition if different
generators of electricity continue to face different
emission standards based on power plant age, location,
and fuel type? Should uniform output-based standards apply
to all power plants to provide a level playing field for
A comment from Tony Cygan of Sacramento, CA:
If I purchase green or renewable power from a company
how can I be sure that they are in fact selling me green or
I guess it all boils down to safeguards. I don't want to be
paying more for green power (and I AM willing to pay more)
if it's not really coming from green or renewable power plants.
A comment from Brian Parsons of
Industry restructuring (NOT deregulation) is being driven by large industrial customers in high electric cost areas. How can this realistically benefit other customers? They only stand to loose.
Public benefits and long-term payoff technologies (like environmentally friendly renewables) are inherently disadvantaged in a price-driven, spot market situation. How can Federal policy counteract these disadvantages? How can we account for "externalities" on a consistent, long term basis? The problem is not just immediate, with new technology, but ongoing recognition of non-monetary benefits.
A comment from John Hague of Vancouver, Canada:
If traditional energy forms continue
to be sold at prices that do not reflect
their full cost to society, how can
sustainable energy forms compete?
The "market" does not now value
environmental or social costs except
through costs to meet regulated
standards and to compensate for damage.
Is this a reliable pricing structure to
help secure a sustainable energy future?
A comment from Roger Baker of Downers Grove, IL:
Deregulation, when done right, works. Witness the airline industry - where fares and cost-of-travel are now versus 30 years ago. However, other industries have not done so well. Cable TV seems to be one example of deregulation at a cost. The Savings & Loan bailout of the mid-80's is often attributed, correctly or not, to the lack of proper oversight of a deregulated financial industry. Electric utilities have always been regional in nature, and so have the rates and current "strandable costs" associated with these utilities. Whatever method is provided must allow for resolution of these issues on a regional basis. the "One Size Fits All" solution which is often brought out of Washington, D.C., may not be viable for each state.
A comment from Denise Banks of Chicago, IL:
I think it's a great idea for the states to break up the monopolies of Commonwealth Edison.
My light bill is so high, it's a shame. I hope that you guys in Congress can give the little people a fair chance.
A comment from Kevin Eber of Boulder, CO:
With the growing threat from global warming, and the continuing
health and visibility problems caused by air pollution, I see
a real need for the electric power industry to shift away from
polluting technologies like coal and toward cleaner power
technologies. Producing power from clean, renewable sources
like wind, solar, small hydropower, and biomass can
drastically reduce utilities' air emissions. But how will
renewable energy fare in a deregulated environment? Is there any way to
assure that utilities continue to introduce renewables into
their power mix?
A comment from Steven Corneli of Minneapolis, MN:
Mr. Shaefer's bill is predicated on the belief that
competition will result in lower prices than regulation has
been able to.
The real paradox is that Federally-mandated deregulation,
like that in Mr. Shaefer's H. 655, is simply not needed in
states with high prices, many of which are already acting to
institute competitive pricing. But the mandate would apply
to states like Minnesota where deregulation and full
market-based pricing have the very real potential to raise
the price of electricity, especially for households and
small businesses. Instead of this preemptive legislation,
the country needs legislation to encourage states to devise
means to use competition in ways that will benefit all
of their customers.
A comment from Steven Anderson of Wausau, WI:
I work for an electrical utility in Wisconsin that supports
efforts to allow electric utility choice for Wisconsin
businesses. This thinking is in concert with the
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that has developed an
electric utility workplan to provide an orderly process to reach the goal of electric retail
competition for all customers by the year 2001.
Competition would bring benefits to Wisconsin but there
is no guarantee of a drop in electric rates. Degregulation
will offer extended energy products and services,
particularly to commercial and industrial customers in the
A comment from T. LeBeau of Las Vegas, NV:
Are we supposed to feel sorry for those who invested in nuclear power sources? Whatever happened to risk? Investors are well aware that any type of investment other a an FDIC insured bank account carries risk. Utility rate payers are not responsible for bad investment decisions by utility investors. In Nevada we have low power rates precisely because we have no nuke plants. This was an absurd form of power generation borne of cold war idiocy. Let's close them all.