Enronizing the BPA
One of the few things that unite politicians across Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho is defending the Bonneville Power Administration. And, now there is a fight brewing between our states' delegations and DC Republicans over privatizing the good old BPA.
The Bush Administration sees asking Northwest ratepayers to act like BPA is a private utility, not a public trust, as an easy way to get more money into the federal coffers. This is one of those "good government" fights that Western Democrats can pick up and used against "no government" Republicans.
Ironically, the utilities that depend on BPA power the most are small, rural public utilities. The only reason these utilities exist is that progressives in rural counties (at least in Washington) stood up and created them.
President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2006 budget, sent to Congress Monday, would, if enacted, be costly to rural Montanans because of provisions affecting wholesale power rates and farm subsidies.
"It would increase our rates 35 to 40 percent," said Terry Holzer, general manager of Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative, which gets electrical power from the Bonneville and Western Area power administrations. "It would double the price of our wholesale power at a minimum."
And, oh yes, as a final point of irony: Haven't private utilities treated the Northwest well so far?
The Aug. 4, 2000, conversation between Enron trader Tim Belden and Rick Shapiro, an Enron executive, began with Belden chuckling as he noted that it was hot in California, "and they don't have enough power. And they kill fish in the Northwest so that people in California can go enjoy themselves at a baseball game."
Shapiro responded, "And then what are we doing? Are we exporting some of the 'fish-kill power' out of California?"
"We are exporting some power from California to the Southwest," said Belden, former head of trading in Enron's Portland office.
Your Personal Note:
Why the heck should this surprise any of us? Bush has always been in bed with the energy companies. Here's just one more chance to make us pay more so these energy tycoons can line their pockets.
Heck, if they get their way, we'll need faith-based power sources too.
Posted by: Matusleo | Feb 9, 2005 6:32:33 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)