Should essential services be publicly owned

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January 2nd, 2019 at 4:24:25 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 124
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Quote: rxwine
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.


I disagree. In a private company the owners are watching management and demanding a ROI. Rates are regulated, so improvement needs to come from good management and controlling expenses. With public ownership you have a bunch of politicians yelling but in the end doing little to nothing.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 2nd, 2019 at 10:16:41 AM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 22
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Quote: AZDuffman
Why not? A private company has every incentive to improve their operation to make it more efficient. Public has zero incentive to do so.
premature launch on that one. Must reboot
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 2nd, 2019 at 10:24:30 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 124
Posts: 11567
Quote: petroglyph


But the private utility's take anything extra and disperse it to shareholders and forego maintenance and safety improvements. That's where that money goes, anything left over in a non profit public utility returns to the system. I last worked at a CO-OP, we are still getting small checks from them from some kind of credits?


Uh, that is a broad and unprovable statement. Smart utilities have a maintenance schedule in my parts. Pacific Graft and Extortion might not be the best example to use as they have a bad reputation from what I have seen. In any parts they are following the same regs for safety and such.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 2nd, 2019 at 10:33:24 AM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
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Public.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
January 2nd, 2019 at 11:12:37 AM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 22
Posts: 4662
You can check parts of this yourself. When you take your walks, look for a darker older pole. About eye level there will be a "button". On that button should be some description. Type, class, height, and year made. It's reasonable to expect 25 years from a piece of wood stuck in the ground. You can probably easily find poles that are 50 years old. On even older poles, there isn't a button, but a "date nail". A square 1/2 nail with date only in it. The oldest one I've seen was stamped 1917. If any pole doesn't have id, it is suspect. Any old railroad areas around there? Them and factories typically have old stuff.

I used PG&E as everyone would recognize it. Part of the proof is down in the industrial sector. I don't know where you are, but Pittsburgh maybe? In the industrial section of your local grid there is probably older, much much larger loads and conductors. With that comes more sensitivity to outages, so some improvements that are needed, get deferred.

Go look at the older part of your local grid. If it's working, no one is thinking of changing it. It's probably not hard to find some of those buttons from the 50's? All of those insulators should be cleaned once in a while. Also typical, if most of the insulators are entirely brown, they are older. After a while the insulation breaks down. If it's like most cities, you can look up and see gaps between the hardware and the pole, where over years the wood has shrunk. Broken and chipped glass, etc. That stuff isn't a priority to a behemoth company. And those things definitely reflect in the safety of maintaining their system, and continuity of service.

This here is an even easier check to tell if a power company is up on their maintenance, are the poles plumb up and down? They are usually set close to plumb, as time goes by, forces of stress lean them, which changes tension and sag on all the wires. A company that really cares, will go straighten some of them up once in a while. A lot of critical maintenance, isn't visible. I have worked for many different company's. IME, privates just don't maintain as well as publics, and that is a safety concern.
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 2nd, 2019 at 2:20:46 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 124
Posts: 11567
Quote: petroglyph


I used PG&E as everyone would recognize it. Part of the proof is down in the industrial sector. I don't know where you are, but Pittsburgh maybe? In the industrial section of your local grid there is probably older, much much larger loads and conductors. With that comes more sensitivity to outages, so some improvements that are needed, get deferred.

Go look at the older part of your local grid. If it's working, no one is thinking of changing it. It's probably not hard to find some of those buttons from the 50's? All of those insulators should be cleaned once in a while. Also typical, if most of the insulators are entirely brown, they are older. After a while the insulation breaks down. If it's like most cities, you can look up and see gaps between the hardware and the pole, where over years the wood has shrunk. Broken and chipped glass, etc. That stuff isn't a priority to a behemoth company. And those things definitely reflect in the safety of maintaining their system, and continuity of service.


The grid in Pittsburgh seems to work fine. Outages are rare. Newer parts of the metro have underground lines. Older parts the poles get replaced when needed. 25 years seems short, but the schedule is not uniform. They hold up pretty well here, probably because there is not extreme heat.

The bigger issues on the grid is the main grid. Just 3 grids for the nation, and they can get jammed.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 2nd, 2019 at 2:50:48 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 22
Posts: 4662
Quote: AZDuffman
Quote: petroglyph


I used PG&E as everyone would recognize it. Part of the proof is down in the industrial sector. I don't know where you are, but Pittsburgh maybe? In the industrial section of your local grid there is probably older, much much larger loads and conductors. With that comes more sensitivity to outages, so some improvements that are needed, get deferred.

Go look at the older part of your local grid. If it's working, no one is thinking of changing it. It's probably not hard to find some of those buttons from the 50's? All of those insulators should be cleaned once in a while. Also typical, if most of the insulators are entirely brown, they are older. After a while the insulation breaks down. If it's like most cities, you can look up and see gaps between the hardware and the pole, where over years the wood has shrunk. Broken and chipped glass, etc. That stuff isn't a priority to a behemoth company. And those things definitely reflect in the safety of maintaining their system, and continuity of service.


The grid in Pittsburgh seems to work fine. Outages are rare. Newer parts of the metro have underground lines. Older parts the poles get replaced when needed. 25 years seems short, but the schedule is not uniform. They hold up pretty well here, probably because there is not extreme heat.

The bigger issues on the grid is the main grid. Just 3 grids for the nation, and they can get jammed.
Can you choose a cheaper provider, on the exact same lines?

RX, could this apply to you also? In a deregulated state, it looks like you may be able to choose a company that charges less per kw.

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-switch-electric-companies-1388200
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
January 2nd, 2019 at 2:55:36 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 124
Posts: 11567
Quote: petroglyph
Can you choose a cheaper provider, on the exact same lines?


Yes, you can choose your provider. Some sell on price, others on "renewable" sourced.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 2nd, 2019 at 3:16:43 PM permalink
gamerfreak
Member since: Feb 19, 2018
Threads: 2
Posts: 146
I think the infrastructure that delivers utilities, whether itís maintained by govt or a private company, should be openly available to be leased by as many service providers as possible.

Free market capitalism does not function when there is no competition. How many internet service providers do you have access to? Probably two at the most of you are lucky. Most locales only have a single choice.

Like AZ is saying, it works fairly well in PA with electricity.
January 2nd, 2019 at 3:37:04 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 22
Posts: 4662
Quote: gamerfreak
I think the infrastructure that delivers utilities, whether itís maintained by govt or a private company, should be openly available to be leased by as many service providers as possible.

Free market capitalism does not function when there is no competition. How many internet service providers do you have access to? Probably two at the most of you are lucky. Most locales only have a single choice.

Like AZ is saying, it works fairly well in PA with electricity.
With anybody and everybody capitalizing on PG&E's facility's, who is going to pay the lawsuits to the family's if the fires were determined to be caused by improper maintenance?

When the lines are rebuilt on the taxpayer's dime, the way it works is all the private interests go back to harvesting $ at taxpayer expense. Since company X.Y, and Z all are selling services that are carried on PG&E's poles and row, should they assume part of the settlement, or should the taxpayers pay?

When a publicly owned power utility is found to have been at fault for their lines starting a fire, it doesn't take long for claims to be paid and business continues.

In a case where say ten different sellers of power are all on the exact same wire, who's to blame for the fire?
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
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