Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 5, 2010

Palo Alto votes to fight PG&E 'power grab'

City Council unanimously opposes PG&E-backed initiative that would create new voting requirements

Palo Alto will battle a PG&E-backed statewide ballot initiative that would make it more difficult for public electricity providers to expand service areas and buy new infrastructure.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to oppose the PG&E initiative, calling it a "power grab" by the giant utility. It could threaten the well-being of the city-owned electric utility, council members warned, echoing earlier concerns of the city's Utilities Advisory Commission.

The city-owned utilities for more than a century has provided power to Palo Alto residents and businesses.

The initiative, which on Monday officially became known as Proposition 16, would require public electricity providers to obtain two-thirds voter approval before expanding their service areas or purchasing new facilities.

If the initiative passes, Palo Alto would need two-thirds voter approval from both existing and new customers before it could expand its electricity service into new territory.

Other California cities, including Redding, Roseville and Lodi, have recently passed similar resolutions opposing the initiative, which this week qualified for the June ballot.

The council also agreed to provide information about the initiative to local and regional business groups in hopes that they too will oppose Proposition 16.

Councilman Yiaway Yeh pointed to reports that PG&E has spent $3.4 million to get the initiative on the ballot and observed that no other utility company is supporting the proposed voting requirements. PG&E's motivation is to keep competing electricity providers from expanding or buying new facilities, he said.

"We want maximum flexibility to get new power in to our customers," Yeh said. "This proposed initiative will create a voting barrier to move forward with infrastructural investment."

The city's Utilities Advisory Commission reached a similar conclusion at its Jan. 6 meeting, when it unanimously voted to recommend opposition to the measure. Since then PG&E gathered the required 694,354 signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

The company had initially named the initiative "The Taxpayer Right to Vote Act," but the state Office of the Attorney General renamed it "New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Electricity Providers."

John Melton, chairman of the Utilities Advisory Commission, said the proposed initiative could hinder the city's ability to acquire new sources of power and could make it more difficult for the city to expand economically. He encouraged the council to "reach out to other cities and organizations that are standing in opposition to PG&E's power grab."

"If we want to have businesses grow and stay in the city and for new business to move it, we have to be able to ensure there is a supply of electrical power going forward," Melton said.

"We can find ourselves in some difficulty if this initiative passes."

Gennady Sheyner

Comments

Posted by rodents, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:14 am

Does pge have any realistic excuse for this measure? It sounds like a blatant attempt to restrict their competition.
"The Taxpayer Right to Vote Act"
are you kidding pge?


Posted by piggy, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

PG&E is not a charity or public service. Their entire reason for being is to make a profit.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:12 am

> It sounds like a blatant attempt to restrict their competition.

Quite the opposite. PG&E used to operate in parts of Palo Alto up until 1932 (or so). In the late 1920s, the City of Palo Alto used its power of eminent domain to "buy out" PG&E for a ridiculously low price--forcing people to buy from the City Utility, rather than the PG&E.

When your "competition" can use the power of eminent domain to take what you have built away from you, maybe even drive you out of business--then you have every right to protect yourself from such preditors. PG&E is using the political process to protect itself from preditors like the City of Palo Alto.



Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

"When your "competition" can use the power of eminent domain to take what you have built away from you, maybe even drive you out of business"

Palo Alto driving PG&E out of business?? Oh, puleeze. PG&E's just afraid of competition. Who can blame them?

Whatever happened to the energy Nirvana deregulation was supposed to bring us - that bounteous supply at negligible prices? How does PG&E's initiative bring this about?


Posted by piggy, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

Deregulation brought us Enron. Wasn't that a good thing?


Posted by pecuniac, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

Does this mean that if Palo Alto Utilities wants to locate a large solar photovoltaic system or wind turbine in another area, that it would take a 2/3 vote to permit the project to go forward?

Also, wasn't Enron's and other utilities support of Gov. Schwarzenegger because he promised to let the $9billion claim by the State of Ca against PG&E and other utilities, languish if elected?

How much do the corporations and banks want? When they have everything, then what is the difference between a managed Socialist state and a managed Fascist state?


Posted by Morris, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

> Palo Alto driving PG&E out of business??

Please review the posting. It specifically points out that Palo Alto drove PG&E out of town between 1928 and 1932. It in no way suggests that Palo Alto can drive PG&E out of business statewide today.

The posting does point out that the "Eminent Domain" was used as the hammer to drive PG&E out of Palo Alto, a hammer which is held by every government in California today.

The posting is quite clear. The response demonstrates the kind of muddled thinking that goes on in this town all too frequently.

> Deregulation brought us Enron.

Yes, this is true.

> Wasn't that a good thing?

As it turned out, no. CA "deregulation" also brought us a guaranteed meltdown of the finances of the electrical supply of the state--thanks to the State Legislature. It is now pushing ten years since that disasterous sequence of events, so many people might have forgotten the details. There are still some web-sites around that provide decent documentation.

Ken Lay probably got what he deserved from the legal system. Unfortunately, all of the State Legislators "walked".




Posted by TL, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm

PGE is a very profitable company. Their employee get cola increase every quarterly and also over time pay. They have very good pension and benefits too. Keep PGE out of Palo Alto.


Posted by Millie Enron, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

If we switched to PG&E, what would happen to our utility rates? Would we still be stuck paying a $35 a month "local utility tax" and all the other diddly charges we're now stuck with? I can't tell you how excited I am to be paying about $15 a month for my very own personal storm drain.

Look at your last utility bill and check out all the ridiculous charges and then someone please tell us which way will be cheaper.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

> If we switched to PG&E, what would happen to our utility
> rates?

Your electric rates might go up a little. Your gas prices would like go down a little. The reliability of the service would stay about the same.

> Would we still be stuck paying a $35 a month "local utility tax"

No .. this would go away.

Also, the frequent cases of fraud and malfeasance that PAU rate payers suffer in terms of embarrassement and (ultimately) higher prices would disappear.


Posted by Buzz, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Of course, if we had PG&E, we could buy stock in the company; we could get dividends. Instead, we have a utility department that is treated like a piggy bank by the City Council who gleefully raise the rates and take the "return on (a very old) investment" and put the money into the general fund so they can spend it - instead of maintaining the infrastructure - which I believe PG&E does out of it's charges. Then we get charged extra to fix the nelected Palo Alto infrastructure. Hmmm . . . might we be better off WITH PG&E?


Posted by barbara, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Palo Alto Utilities consistently charges more than PG&E. I for one would be glad to have PG&E take over our utilities. I don't think everyone realizes that Palo Alto syphons off a considerable amount of money from the Utility charges for the general fund. And when things get tight they always want a larger percentage to support their programs. Does anyone know the current percentage? I seem to recall 17%


Posted by piggy, a resident of Stanford
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Can someone post the exact electricity and gas rates that PG&E and Palo Alto Utilities charge? My friends in Palo Alto seem to be paying a lot less than my friends with PG&E.


Posted by Millie Enron, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I'd be glad to NOT pay them to sit around dreaming up "mission statements" when it should be obvious to our fine city workers that lowering rates would be a real fine objective.

Also, if we went to PG&E we wouldn't have to pay for their salaries, retirements and subsidized utility rates that insulate them from reality.


Posted by Utility User, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm

PG&E single-family residential dwelling gas rate (effective Feb. 1, 2010) from Web Link
$1.03701/therm baseline $1.28915/therm thereafter

CPAU single-family residential dwelling gas rates, from Web Link
$1.3872/therm baseline $1.9592/therm thereafter

PG&E single-family residential electric rates from Web Link
$0.11877/kwh up to 100% of baseline
$0.13502/kwh up to 130% of baseline
$0.27572/kwh up to 200% of baseline
$0.40577/kwh up to 300% of baseline
$0.47393/kwh thereafter

CPAU single-family residential electric rates from Web Link
$0.09524/kwh up to 100% of baseline
$0.13020/kwh up to 200% of baseline
$0.17399/kwh thereafter

In short, we're paying more than PG&E customers for gas, but less for electricity. Taxes on our utilities can be levied even when we're using a private company to provide them -- look at your phone bill for a good example of this.


Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I'd rather have PG&E be our utility just so the city can stop using CPAU as a backdoor way of increasing our taxes.

By the way, we got Enron because our deregulation was set up in a pretty moronic way. The rates for power from generators to utilities were deregulated, but the consumer pricing was not.

That's not deregulation. That's just stupid.We've never had a true deregulated power system.


Posted by Millie Enron, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I agree with Today's post above. I'm tired of them using our utility bills to subsidize the city budget. No wonder the sales tax revenue keeps declining because it's going all to PAU.

Re Enron, first we got stuck with the Enron "rape" and then we got hit with more increases to pay to cancel the Enron contract.

Enough.

How many employees does the PAU have by the way?


Posted by SteveU, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

"Utility user" forgot the "users tax" on top of these rates.

In case anyone forgets. Utility lines run on/over/under City Property AKA "Right of way". The Telco pays a fee to use this space. The Cable Company pays to use this space. There are other buried (private) services that pay fees Unless the use the Rail Right of way.



Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Morris, you need to check your facts. The Redwood City company that became PG&E tried to put their own electric lines through Palo Alto in 1912, with no franchise on a holiday. The poles were taken down by City workers. In 1929, both agencies went before the regulating body to set what was considered " a fair and reasonable gas rate", and the City bought gas from PG&E until 1991. Then, in 1974, Barron Park was annexed into Palo Alto, which brought that area's utilities under control of CPA. The City hooked into the PG&E electric system in 1923, so where does your ripoff takeover come into play? It was inportant to Palo Alto to own its own utilities. Does PG&E want to control Palo Alto's distribution system - no doubt they still do.


Posted by kenN, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm

"PG&E is not a charity or public service. "

Wrong - PG&E is a monopoly that must provide a public service by law. It is more regulated than most charities or businesses, and should be -- it has a huge impact on public safety, economic development, and social equity.

Municipal utilities are normal in many countries, and in many parts of this country. There are about 2000 in the US. They serve as a balance to the far larger investor-owned utilities (IOUs), providing a reference point for service and price. This small-scale complement to investor ownership has been historically important in the US, like coops in agriculture, non-profit hospitals, etc.

Compared to PG&E for the last 5 years, I've saved more from our cheaper electricity that I've lost on gas (especially since PAU gas was cheap until prices spiked three years ago).

The cost of water, sewer, refuse, and local taxes would be unchanged if PG&E took over. PAU is doing fine for gas and electricity.


Posted by pecuniac, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm

If you have ever had the misfortune of having to deal with PG&E for new service or service upgrades you will have to appreciate the efficiency of CPAU. For more complicated commercial and industrial changes, PG&E is a slow and very expensive dinosaur. Be grateful for Palo Alto's electric utility and its employees.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

The city can -- and does -- raise utility rates at will. There is no PUC, no oversight.

The city can transfer as much as they want from the electric and gas funds into the city's general fund, to be used for any purpose determined by the city government.

In an email to a resident, then-councilwoman Yoriko Kishimoto wrote: "Palo Alto benefits greatly from having our own utilities. The profits which would go to PG&E shareholders instead come to the city general budget."

Since 1910, total transfers from Utilities to the City amount to $351 million. See pdf page 18 at Web Link

There is some question as to whether the transfer of water funds is legal since Prop 218 the RIGHT TO VOTE ON TAXES ACT, passed in 1996. Web Link

The city stopped transfers from the water fund to the general fund in 2010.


Posted by Millie Enron, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 3, 2010 at 1:21 am

Given the lack of regulation of PA utility rates and lack of oversight, maybe what we need is a proposition on the ballot to see whether Palo Alto would prefer to switch to PG&E.

If nothing else, it might make the bureaucrats wake up. If they can stop transferring from the water fund to the general fund, maybe they can follow up with gas and then electric.

(I'm still steaming over my last gas bill.)


Posted by market forces, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

I'd love there to be more competition. Allow me to buy cheaper gas from PG&E and water from Mountain View or Los Altos at half the price we're paying in Palo Alto. It might give PA Utilities some incentive to run their program more efficiently instead of gouging us through in-direct taxes into the general fund.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

Anyone ever try to get a service call from PG&E in a timely fashion? I lived in PG&E land for many, many years. Customer service is not their strength. For example, in the recent storms - people were without power for days. In Palo Alto, you can have someone show at your door in minutes if necessary.

Both electrical and gas will increase in price -- but electricity is going to go up far more than gas if you recognize the amount of natural gas that is available in the US. Electricity is more of a fixed item and will require much more infrastructure improvement and expansion.

My Mom lives in Menlo Park and see her utility bills every month --- you guys have no idea how good we have it here in PA...despite the "taxes", etc.

I'll stay with CPA utilities thank you.


Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

Way to go, Dad! You would be able to hear the whining in San Francisco from Palo Altans who discovered that they would not get anywhere near the service from PG&E that they get from CPA utilities!


Posted by carlito W, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

For those folks who would like to have PGE for gas and electric service, let me say that you don't know what you are talking about, Palo Alto still provides hands down better service and price, I experienced both of them.

Our only issue with the Palo alto bureaucrats is that they see the utilities dept as a cash cow and I would like to see a change to this, how about a ballot. If we were able to put a stop to that practice our utilities bill would be even lower, because the utilities users will no longer be subsidising the disfunctional Palo alto government .


Posted by market forces, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Check out the details. PA Utilities does do better for Electricity but you pay for it on your Gas bill. Then pay nearly twice as much as everyone else for water!
Before moving here, I never had any problems with PG&E so I would have no problems going back to them. My previous bills were definitely lower than from Palo Alto Utilities. It was a sticker shock moment moving here but I soon realized that everything is more expensive in Palo Alto. Even getting the house painted.
I'm sure you can find more complaints on the web and through hearsay about PG&E than Palo Alto Utilities, after all, they service a far larger population than the 20,000 or so houses in Palo Alto.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

> Morris, you need to check your facts.

The following comes from a report issued by the State sometime around 1950 about municipal utility departments (Unfortunately, the cover page of the report is not available, so the author's name, and department are not known):

----
(Other material edited) ..

By 1923 practically all of the customers in the city were serviced by the municipal electrical system. It is of interest to note, however, that up until 1929 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was still serving four customers within the corporate limits of the city of Palo Alto, but the company discontinued service on these remaining customers in that same year.

In 1925 the adjoining city of Mayfield was annexed in a part of the City of Palo Alto. Mayfield was served entirely by the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for both gas and electricity. In 1928, the City of Palo Alto applied to the California Railroad Commission requesting the Commission to fix a fair value for both electric and gas systems of the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in Mayfield with a view of condemnation by the city. After the valuation was made, the city proceeded with its condemnation and finally acquired title to the company's gas and electric distribution in Mayfield on February 3, 1931. The price paid for the system was fixed by the court was $57,303.

History of PG&E:
Web Link

PG&E was formed in 1905, from pre-existing companies, as popular in the past as it is today (now called "Mergers and Acquisitions" by many companies).
----

So .. what facts that were presented in the earlier posting were significantly in error to be consider purposefully misleading?

I doubt PG&E ever really agreed to this "condemnation", and it is doubtful that the $57K was a fair price, so all of PG&E's future earnings from these properties could not have been considered "fairly" at that time.

> Does PG&E want to control Palo Alto's distribution system -
> no doubt they still do.

And why wouldn't they? They are professionals, and regulated by the State. Selling gas and electricity at a competitive price is their business The PAU shows little in terms of professionalism, and is not regulated by the State. Treating residents as "captives" is what the PAU does best.


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

"The posting does point out that the "Eminent Domain" was used as the hammer to drive PG&E out of Palo Alto, a hammer which is held by every government in California today. The posting is quite clear. The response demonstrates the kind of muddled thinking that goes on in this town all too frequently."

The referenced posting clearly presents a limited, carefully biased view of what happened 75 years ago and then leaps to absurd conclusions about the present, one of which is repeated above, demonstrating the kind of muddled thinking that goes on in this town all too frequently and self-referentially.

Neither Palo Alto nor any other municipality can drive PG&E out of business. PG&E simply wants it all, the classic monopoly. Good ol' Pride Greed & Envy is committing its middle sin again.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

As an Engineer, I have dealt with PG&E for years. After the bankruptcy, there was a complete turnaround in the quality of their engineering support. They went from technicians to Greenie pushers, slavishly picking up the thread of any wild-posteriored Sacramento scheme to shame the customer for using the product.


Posted by green with envy, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm

"As an Engineer, I have dealt with PG&E for years. After the bankruptcy, there was a complete turnaround in the quality of their engineering support."

Not surprising. After the bankruptcy means after deregulation, therefore after the government stopped making them do the right thing. The first thing they did on their own was go broke. The second was bow to the open market, as you observed. The third is try and hide behind the law again.


Posted by tj, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:29 am

PG&E sells gas and electric at lower rates than the city of Palo Alto. And since Palo Alto isn't willing to control its spending, I'm sure I'll have to pay more for "utilities" when I'm actually paying for pensions of city employees. I WANT PG&E TO SERVE PALO ALTO!


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2010 at 7:53 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Paul, do you remember the one aspect that was NOT deregulated? The aspect that flushed PG&E down the drain? . . . Students?


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

"that flushed PG&E down the drain"

Now there's a mixed metaphor for ya: gas and electric flushed down the drain. Totally utilitarian, I must admit.

PG&E was used to being a monopoly. It was supremely arrogant but very soft. Only a major miracle could have kept it out of the drainpipe when it had to compete.

Now it's going for a new government-guaranteed monopoly, but sans regulation. If Prop 16 passes, watch for new initiatives to set very high bars for other competition. They'll be right there at your Safeway, earnest-looking students getting a buck for your signature. Why not see if you can work out a royalty arrangement with them.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Also, to the poster that said that he/she wanted to buy water from Mountain View and/or Los Altos... I lived in Mountain View - did you know MtnVw & LA water comes from more sources than just Hetch-Hetchy? It also comes from the Santa Clara Valley water district = well water and run-off from local hills.

In other words, the water is the not the same quality of the water we currently receive directly from Yosemite.

No thanks (again).


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Marin County to provide power, oust PG&E
Web Link

To get clean energy, upgrade to Electricity 2.0
Web Link


Posted by Answer, anyone to Walter's Question?, a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Thank you Walter. People forget rapidly the real causes of meltdowns, don't they? If they ever understood it in the first place, that is. (RE: the only part NOT deregulated, which caused the PGE meltdown...some things never change, do they?)


Posted by Anon, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

PG&E cracks me up. *They* need state law protection from the likes of Palo Alto and Santa Clara?!?!? If only *we* the taxpayers, and, ratepayers both, could get back all the money we lost to the rapacious energy giants: "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." If only we could get back the electricity rates that we used to pay before deregulation "helped" us. It is amazing and astounding the folks who are apologists for the Kenneth Lays of the world after they stole money right out of *your* pockets.



Posted by lol, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:10 am

"In other words, the water is the not the same quality of the water we currently receive directly from Yosemite."

So, Shallow Alto!


Posted by lol, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

The more I think of it the more it amuses me... "We, in Palo Alto, only flush out toilets with the purest of bottled water and will pay for the privelege!". Indeed, LOL!


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

""In other words, the water is the not the same quality of the water we currently receive directly from Yosemite."

Might be better. A bunch of water from the Don Pedro project gets mixed with the Hetch Hetchy headline stuff.


Posted by Mor, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm

> The referenced posting clearly presents a limited, carefully
> biased view of what happened 75 years ago and then leaps to absurd
> conclusions about the present, one of which is repeated above,
> demonstrating the kind of muddled thinking that
> goes on in this town all too frequently and self-referentially.

I asked: "what was in error"? This response provides no evidence that any error existed. Just some more muddled thinking about "bias"—which is not substantiated with any evidence.

> Neither Palo Alto nor any other municipality can drive PG&E out
> of business. PG&E simply wants it all, the classic monopoly.

Let me point out the following two web-pages –

Marin County to provide power, oust PG&E:
Web Link

California State Senators Opposing Single-Payer Health Care Received Twice as Much Money from Health Insurance Industry:
Web Link

In the first case, Marin County seems to be about to put PG&E out of business or retailing electricity in that County. In the second link, the California Legislature wants to ban (and has already tried in the past) outlawing the sale of health insurance in the private sector. This is the most worrisome thing I've seen in a long time. I personally don't understand how the State Constitution allows the Legislature to ban activities that are in no way harmful. Yes, I support the ban of the sale of Heroin, and other such drugs. But to equate the sale of health insure to the sale of Heroin (by virtue of outlawing it) makes no sense at all.

So .. don't tell me that Palo Alto, or any other government agency, can't put PG&E (or any other business) out-of-business. It's going on today!!


Posted by Fred, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

The "pro" PG&E posters here are pretty confused about the history of the California Electricity crisis. But, I don't expect them to actually study that history.

I have to point out, though, that there is nothing unusual in public agencies providing all kinds of public utilities, including most of the roads that you drive on. There has been a debate going for more than 100 years about regulated private monopolies vs public utilities. My personal experience is that public utilities usually work better-- with a caveat.

The caveat is that when technology changes, in some cases the public monopoly is harder to change. An example would be the European post-tel services that fought against new low-cost communications, the internet, etc. Likewise, *if* we had a public telephone service, would it have succeeded in making cell-phone service very expensive? Whereas now-- we don't actually need wired telephone service - many people I know only have cell-phones. Good riddance to AT&T. In cases where true competition can exist-- cell phones-- private industry almost always does better than public utilities.

In any case, there is no competitive market solution for electricity distribution (or roads), so, I think the public alternative is better than the alternative-- a regulated private monopoly. (Worst of all, of course, is an unregulated private monopoly.)


Posted by cpd, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

Fred, why are you so afraid of competition?


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Fix the title.

Palo Alto's City Council votes to fight PG&E power grab.

The citizens have no say.


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