Should essential services be publicly owned

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January 1st, 2019 at 3:36:09 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 21
Posts: 3826
Should public utilities be publicly owned, or should private business like PG&E be allowed to have essentially a monopoly on electricity sales until an accident or poor management bankrupts the company and leaves the public hostages, and have their taxes raised to bail out the executives?

https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/11/16/pge-bankruptcy-unlikely-wildfires/

I worked in the past on PG&E property during the 90's. A typical mo is to delay maintenance until a storm or fire destroys parts of the grid and then rebuild it on the insurance check. PG&E would "defer maintenance" until the PUC would get called and they would inspect the poor quality of maintenance on the system. The PUC would order PG&E to replace 100 to 125 thousand poles at a time, because they were so rotten or bug damaged.

When the local power company is a PUD or publicly owned, the maintenance is far superior to the private power company's that squeeze every last dime from materials that were antiques 20 years ago. The grid is still standing decades beyond it's original life expectancy. Parts of the grid are a hundred years old.

There are story's that these recent wildfires were caused by poor maintenance by the power company. That is entirely possible from personal experience.

We often hear conservatives want to privatize everything. In this case do you prefer private enterprise that through differing perspectives on maintenance [$$] 80+ lives are lost? If taxpayers don't pick up the cost on the coming lawsuits, PG&E will cease to exist.

Regardless, ratepayers and taxpayers are going to have to dig deep to fix the electricity. Do you prefer the electric company's be private so management can loot the maintenance budget for ceo bonuses, or would you prefer essential utilities be public, the books transparent, and the ceo pay be reasonable for a municipal employee?
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 1st, 2019 at 3:49:34 PM permalink
pew
Member since: Jan 8, 2013
Threads: 3
Posts: 1029
Whichever is cheapest is the best.
January 1st, 2019 at 4:04:08 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 118
Posts: 9691
Private.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 1st, 2019 at 4:08:19 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 21
Posts: 3826
There is no way private electric company's have cheaper rates.
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 1st, 2019 at 4:11:39 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 135
Posts: 7190
I get all my power from windmills, solar panels and the wheel of pain.



Central power for a city isn't configured very well for competition. Except from a management concept. For instance, not too easy for a new company to bring in its new equipment.

That said, I'm not ruling it out either.
Nobody learned anything from the global financial crisis.
January 1st, 2019 at 4:51:40 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 21
Posts: 3826
Quote: rxwine
I get all my power from windmills, solar panels and the wheel of pain.



Central power for a city isn't configured very well for competition. Except from a management concept. For instance, not too easy for a new company to bring in its new equipment.

That said, I'm not ruling it out either.
When I worked in Portland and I assume it's still that way, there were two power company's on the same poles. One was PGE, Portland General Elec. and PP&L, now Pacific corp. Both with their own wires and several different voltages each.


added: https://io9.gizmodo.com/photos-from-the-days-when-thousands-of-cables-crowded-t-1629961917
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 1st, 2019 at 5:49:06 PM permalink
kenarman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 10
Posts: 1541
Quote: petroglyph
Should public utilities be publicly owned, or should private business like PG&E be allowed to have essentially a monopoly on electricity sales until an accident or poor management bankrupts the company and leaves the public hostages, and have their taxes raised to bail out the executives?

https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/11/16/pge-bankruptcy-unlikely-wildfires/

I worked in the past on PG&E property during the 90's. A typical mo is to delay maintenance until a storm or fire destroys parts of the grid and then rebuild it on the insurance check. PG&E would "defer maintenance" until the PUC would get called and they would inspect the poor quality of maintenance on the system. The PUC would order PG&E to replace 100 to 125 thousand poles at a time, because they were so rotten or bug damaged.

When the local power company is a PUD or publicly owned, the maintenance is far superior to the private power company's that squeeze every last dime from materials that were antiques 20 years ago. The grid is still standing decades beyond it's original life expectancy. Parts of the grid are a hundred years old.

There are story's that these recent wildfires were caused by poor maintenance by the power company. That is entirely possible from personal experience.

We often hear conservatives want to privatize everything. In this case do you prefer private enterprise that through differing perspectives on maintenance [$$] 80+ lives are lost? If taxpayers don't pick up the cost on the coming lawsuits, PG&E will cease to exist.

Regardless, ratepayers and taxpayers are going to have to dig deep to fix the electricity. Do you prefer the electric company's be private so management can loot the maintenance budget for ceo bonuses, or would you prefer essential utilities be public, the books transparent, and the ceo pay be reasonable for a municipal employee?


I like the current system we have in British Columbia. BC Hydro is crown corporation owned by the province. The manage the system and planning and the provincial government has final say on projects. The construction and most of the day to day maintenance is contracted out to private contractors.
"but if you make yourselves sheep, the wolves will eat you." Benjamin Franklin
January 1st, 2019 at 6:02:10 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 21
Posts: 3826
Quote: kenarman
I like the current system we have in British Columbia. BC Hydro is crown corporation owned by the province. The manage the system and planning and the provincial government has final say on projects. The construction and most of the day to day maintenance is contracted out to private contractors.
I have friends that have worked for BC Hydro, they are a very high quality organization, and very good specs.

Last time I drove the Alcan, I was impressed at how Canada chooses to use their trees for human gain, versus American preference to provide homes for bugs. Every lumber mill I passed had giant cold decks and people working in the timber industry.
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 2nd, 2019 at 2:06:50 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 118
Posts: 9691
Quote: petroglyph
There is no way private electric company's have cheaper rates.


Why not? A private company has every incentive to improve their operation to make it more efficient. Public has zero incentive to do so.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 2nd, 2019 at 3:36:02 AM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 135
Posts: 7190
Quote: AZDuffman
Public has zero incentive to do so.


Not really.

City managed power is one of those things that can't hide for a year in the annual budget, since customers react immediately to problems or rate hikes.. Definitely pressure to do well, and rates can be checked against other areas doing business.
Nobody learned anything from the global financial crisis.
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