Northwest NEWS

February 5,2001

Editorial

Poor people will be shielded from high power costs, what about retirees?

Whenever I've read about electrical power sources, it's been about the water power dams built with tax payers' money. I assumed all electrical power sources were a public utility, operating for the public with no profit in mind.
   The present energy crisis tells me otherwise. I've learned about power sources from what the TV news does not show.There has been no identity given to those reaping the profits of the electricity that goes from sixcents to nine dollars per kilowatt hour. Two of those power sources are in Houston, Texas. Texas is an independent power source.
   All the TV news talks about is shortage, conserve and deregulation in California. If power sources can be deregulated, it seems to me that they can be re-regulated. Electrical power shortages exist in California not Washington. Power demands have been increasing rapidly due to rapid development but not at the catastrophic price hikes by the private power sources, especially those in Texas.
   I believe that water, electricity, oil and possibly gas should be entirely public utilities, not semi-public utilities.
   Vice-president Dick Cheney, on "Meet the Press," and now our new president say that California must solve its own problem. Hello. California is still part of the United States and its power source is connected by contract to the Northwest, making this crisis a federal problem. Government uses eminent domain to acquire and use private property for public use. How about temporary eminent domain used to force private power sources to sell power at present rates until the public power sources (water) are restored. Our TV news investigators are silent on how much power is available in Texas and other states, as well as Canada.
   High oil costs are used to explain higher power costs. Last October, higher gasoline prices appeared at the pumps. It seems to me the power prices would have gone up then, not after a different president is inaugurated.
   Our local government states that our poorer people will be shielded. How about retirees who are just above the poverty economic level? Will we then be the poor? When water dams are the main source of electricity, power money will defeat any salmon or food money any time until our stomachs get empty.
   George Slusser, Woodinville