Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yes On Prop 16?

This was one I was leading toward standing aside on. Now, I'm pretty sure I'm voting Yes on it.

Prop 16 is the one that would require a 2/3 vote for a local government to enter the retail electricity business. It doesn't prohibit governments from selling gas or electricity, as I've been hearing many opponents suggest. It just requires more than a simple majority vote for a local government to do so.

The Orange County Register made their case today as to why, while not perfect, Prop 16 is worth passing.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Reporta said...

Seriously dude? PG&E is just attempting to maintain its monopoly by making it more difficult for municipalities to form aggregation districts. This is a telling example of misuse of our initiative process by a powerful (no pun) company that has already dropped at least $36 million in to this campaign.

On that note, the law allows for residents to opt out within 60 days of an aggregation district being formed, so I don't buy this "let the people decide" argument. If you don't want to be a part of the district, you can easily opt out yourself.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

...the law allows for residents to opt out within 60 days of an aggregation district being formed,... If you don't want to be a part of the district, you can easily opt out yourself."

Good point, but the opt out is only good for the first 60 days. If they wanted to start raising rates instead of raising taxes, they'd just wait until after 60 days to do it and you'd be trapped.

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Reporta said...

True, you would be trapped. But as long as there is an awareness campaign while the process is underway, I don't think that would be an issue.

And it's not like there isn't a public process involved if a governing body chose to go this route. That's why I'm not buying PG&Es rationale for supporting this initiative.

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

Aight, Prop. 16 reminds me of a grampy story. Way out in the sticks, grampy had his ten acre tree plot hooked up on windmill, old-school, farmville style. He told us little people about how the government made him switch it up from windmill to electric lines, how he wrote letters protesting it, how he thought it was a racist conspiracy, how grandma thought it was ugly etc. etc.

Needless to say, those stories make me unimpressed with any government attempt to meddle in electricity. If the government hadn't come along and said your nuts are on our grid, grampy never would have strayed from the same wind-powered green energy we are trying to push now like it is some kinna radical new-age hippy idea.

So, forget government powerlines. I am 100% down with Prop. 16.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Vicki said...

If PG&E is sponsoring it, you really think they care about you? Read this:Who is the sole sponsor of Prop 16?
PG&E, the largest for-profit utility in the state. As of today, PG&E has contributed $6.5 million to the “yes” campaign and signaled they’re prepared to spend tens of millions more. PG&E was the only contributor to put this proposition on the ballot.
Why? Again, PG&E wants to protect its monopoly. Prop 16 isn’t about protecting taxpayers – it’s about protecting PG&E’s for-profit monopoly on electricity.
Just read the ballot title and summary, and you’ll see. The Redding Record said “The point (of Prop 16) isn’t to protect taxpayers rights. It’s to protect the profits of a monopoly utility.” The Sacramento Bee said Prop 16 “enshrines unfair protections against competition for PG&E, one of the richest, most powerful corporations in the state, into the California Constitution.”
As the Fresno Bee put it, “The PG&E ballot measure (Prop 16) is another troubling example of the initiative process going dangerously awry in California, of a powerful special interest seizing the initiative process for its own narrow benefit.”
AARP urges NO ON PROP 16 because by removing competition, Prop 16 means higher electricity costs for you. A No vote protects you against the potential for crippling rate hikes.
The Consumer Federation of CA says VOTE NO because like Wall Street, PG&E paid huge bonuses to its executives, even after it went bankrupt and ratepayers bail it out. Now PG&E wants to lock-in its monopoly once and for all – so smaller, local nonprofit utilities are not allowed to compete.
Sierra Club says VOTE NO because Prop 16 requires a 2/3 supermajority vote before communities can purchase green power at wholesale prices – keeping your rates higher and insuring the for-profit monopoly that currently sells you power stays in control.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous South Coaster said...

"The argument against Prop. 16 is that local government-run utilities have happier customers, who pay lower rates."

That statement in the article is a joke. But maybe it's just my town. I live in Shelter Cove and the utility district is run by the local elected "bandoleros" (government), and just like the movie they are men out to kill any gringos (foreigners) that they can find.

They raised our utility connections four times in one year from $12800 to $37400 and the top electricity rate to $1/kw, while calling any outsider who wanted to build a house as an evil developer. Mean while the Board Chair conveniently completed an entire hotel renovation and expansion just previous to the large fee increse, and boasted to another B&B owner that it would probably be the last large hospitality development since it requires the $37400 fee for each unit after the increse. Another board member, district insiders, and employees built second houses to "hedge" the fee increase.

In my limited experience I do not agree that local governments can run anything better than a free market that allows competition. Does prop 16 allow choices? That's what we need down south.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a timely Prop. As marijuana will soon be legalized, it will be easiest for the govt to see who is growing pot (just check out the electric bill) - so that they can be sure to regulate them.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Not really. They already do that with the current system.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Would it require the same number of votes to dismantle a MUD and privatize it?

Obviously power companies hate that SMUD is actually one of the best power suppliers for consumers, turning a profit while reducing rates for their own customers by selling their power to other markets.

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You backed a big fat corporate loser, congrats...


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