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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Chuck DeVore Calls Out The PUC

I'm so happy to have a guy like Chuck DeVore representing my Assembly district in Suckramento. He has hit upon another motherlode of beaucratic fool's gold in the California Public Utilities Commission. Chuck reminds me a lot of the "Jack Ryan" character from Tom Clancy's novels & movies. He's kicking ass and taking names all over the state. Keep digging deeper Chuck. I think you have only hit upon the tip of the proverbial iceberg as it relates to Democratic corruption and ineptness in our state. I'll let his latest email to me and others speak for itself. Here it is:

December 14, 2005

President Michael Peevey
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102

Via FAX: 415-703-1758

Dear Mr. Peevey:

It is my understanding that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) plans to implement a regulation tomorrow that would allow for $3.2 billion dollars of ratepayer money to be used to subsidize rooftop photovoltaic solar power systems. This letter serves to express my disapproval. The impact of this decision will serve to exclude the development of future technology; it is undemocratic, and wholly unethical. Let me explain.

The PUC?s decision to move forward with this specific type of technology excludes the possibility of using a variety of previously identified technologies that could be obtained through competitive free market forces. Previous legislation has proven that it is the legislature?s goal to encourage the innovation of renewable energy that is procured based on the lowest cost regardless of technology.

The California Legislature tried and failed this year to do legislatively what the PUC, an unelected regulatory body, is planning to do through regulation. I have read the grant of authority statutes that the PUC is using to justify this decision and find them vague at best. I do not believe it was the Legislature?s goal to give the PUC such sweeping authority as you are preparing to exercise on Thursday.

Further, the effect this decision will have on all but the wealthiest Californians makes this proposed shifting of ratepayer resources from the middle class and poor to almost exclusively the rich especially troublesome. It is the low to middle class who will shoulder the cost of the rising rates used to subsidize the instillation of solar panels almost entirely on the homes of the wealthy. For, quite simply, only those people with significant disposable assets will spend $30,000 to install a photovoltaic power system on their home that, even with PUC-forced subsidies, still cannot even pay for the carrying costs of the interest incurred on the borrowed funds.

Again, how does it help California consumers, taxpayers, industry, and business to subsidize a source of energy that rates as about nine times as costly as competing power sources? How does your pending decision make California more attractive to the kinds of electricity-intensive manufacturing industries that can give good jobs to many Californians?

I implore the Commission to not succumb to the pressure to employ regulatory power to select energy technology winners and losers ? especially when the winner selected, in this case, is not at all cost-effective. Rather, an alternative and cost-effective way to boost California?s power output without generating an ounce of carbon dioxide would be to allow the replacement of the steam turbine generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Such an upgrade would generate more power without the installation of a new power plant.

A more responsible and visionary idea for the PUC to pursue would be to lobby for the construction of new, modern, clean and safe nuclear power plants capable of producing enough cheap energy to eliminate the present need to burn carbon-based fuels, while enabling inexpensive production of hydrogen for vehicle use. In that regard I remind the Commissioners that had America continued constructing nuclear power plants at the rate we were in the 1970s, we would be easily meeting our Kyoto Treaty protocols today.

It is my hope that the PUC will not vote to implement this regulatory scheme, and that we can find other sources of energy that will serve our needs without unfairly burdening ratepayers who have no financial ability to participate in the proposed subsidy program.


Assemblyman, Seventieth District

cc: Commissioner Geoffrey F. Brown
Commissioner Susan P. Kennedy
Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich
Commissioner John Bohn


  • At 4:38 PM, Blogger James Aach said…

    You might be interested to know there is a new techno-thriller novel about the American nuclear power industry available at no cost on the internet. Written by a longtime nuclear engineer, it provides an entertaining and accurate portrait of a nuclear power plant and how an accident might be handled. “Rad Decision” is at RadDecision.blogspot.com. The novel also covers electric energy supplies in general, including photovoltaic.

    If you like what you see, please pass the word.


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