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New push to deregulate energy: Schwarzenegger electricity plan fuels fears of another debacle
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 10/11/03 | Zachary Coile

Posted on 10/11/2003 8:32:00 AM PDT by Pokey78

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:44:20 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing a push to deregulate the state's electricity markets -- a move embraced by business leaders and some energy analysts but criticized by many Democrats and consumer advocates as a return to the failed policies that sparked California's energy crisis.


(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: brulte; calpowercrisis; deregulation; energy; government; grayout; grayoutarnold; jimbrulte; peace; petewilson; power; schwarzenegger; stevepeace; wilson
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1 posted on 10/11/2003 8:32:00 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Good for Arnold. He has exactly the right idea.

Next, he needs to abolish the California Power Authority.

2 posted on 10/11/2003 8:39:38 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Pokey78
It will be a debacle as long as production cpactity is short of demand. The key to opening that capacity is regulatory relief, particularly in the environmental field.

If you accept what he published in his environmental plan, Arnold has no intention of supplying that relief. The people who wrote his environmental plan don't either; their intent is to cash in on it.

So which is it Arnold, regulatory relief and an honest environmental plan that you waved in front of Republicans in speeches, or more crooked racketeering which is what you put in writing? Remember, Brulte was one of the architects of the last deregulation debacle and he sits on Arnold's team.

3 posted on 10/11/2003 8:40:39 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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4 posted on 10/11/2003 8:41:27 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pokey78
I won't say this is a bad idea, but once again it's only partial deregulation. And they won't be out of the woods until they dump several hundred rules and regulations that make it impossible to build new power plants. As it stands now, the envirowackoes can stall a new plant forever, and nobody would be crazy enough to build a new plant in that political environment.
5 posted on 10/11/2003 8:43:41 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
The company I worked for tried to build a small facility in Stockton. After chewing thru the air resources board, the county and city boards and even a neighborhood vote, we moved to Reno and were up and running in 4 months.
6 posted on 10/11/2003 8:47:20 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Cicero
You answered my question for me-- the enviro-whackos. Deregulation seems to have worked well for Texas, so I was wondering why it didn't/couldn't in California. [Our envirowhackos all seem to be clustered in Austin.]
7 posted on 10/11/2003 8:52:02 AM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Pokey78
The earlier deregulation scheme also included a rate freeze that barred utilities from passing along the increased costs to customers.

That doesn't sound like deregulation to me. Pete Wilson may have pointed the ship in a certain direction, but it was Davis's failure to steer the ship around an ice berg that caused it to sink. The socialists like to re-write history. What really happened is the power plants withheld power because they weren't getting paid and could not afford to buy fuel, setting off the crisis. They couldn't get paid because the distributors had to sell below cost and quickly ran out of cash. This was a socialist fiasco, much like central planning in the former Soviet Union.

8 posted on 10/11/2003 8:53:19 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: Dog Gone
Next, he needs to abolish the California Power Authority.

And Jim Brulte and Pete Wilson and everyone else connected with what caused the problem(s) before.

9 posted on 10/11/2003 8:54:22 AM PDT by lewislynn
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To: lewislynn
I wonder if Steve Peace will be staying on in some capacity. He, along with Brulte, helped craft Cali's first dereg nightmare too and he is hollyweird connected.
10 posted on 10/11/2003 9:00:48 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: Pokey78
Things change, Things stay the same.. Progress.. uhh.. Progressivm .. inaction in action
11 posted on 10/11/2003 9:01:57 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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Progressivm .. ProgressivISm ;-|

It's early, still on my first cup of java
12 posted on 10/11/2003 9:03:05 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: Dog Gone
Good for Arnold. He has exactly the right idea.
Next, he needs to abolish the California Power Authority

The very best for long term everything would be a jump start to let Cal-Pine and others to build more generating plants.

The population isn't going to dramatically decrease. The usage demand is going to grow. We MUST have more sources.
The greens have choked off all these efforts. The small "On Demand" plants that Davis says HE built..(he didn't someone with investment built it) These ON DEMAND units take as long as 7 days to spool up. Not much of an "on demand" based on my Websters.
13 posted on 10/11/2003 9:08:12 AM PDT by ridesthemiles (ridesthemiles)
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To: Dog Gone
Good for Arnold. He has exactly the right idea.
Next, he needs to abolish the California Power Authority

The very best for long term everything would be a jump start to let Cal-Pine and others to build more generating plants.

The population isn't going to dramatically decrease. The usage demand is going to grow. We MUST have more sources.
The greens have choked off all these efforts. The small "On Demand" plants that Davis says HE built..(he didn't someone with investment built it) These ON DEMAND units take as long as 7 days to spool up. Not much of an "on demand" based on my Websters.
14 posted on 10/11/2003 9:08:12 AM PDT by ridesthemiles (ridesthemiles)
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To: Carry_Okie
Brulte was one of the architects of the last deregulation debacle and he sits on Arnold's team.

One of the architects?

“SAN DIEGO -Governor Pete Wilson today signed historic legislation,AB 1890 by Assemblyman Jim Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga),which will break up California ’s utility monopoly,open the state ’s $21 billion electricity market to competition and guarantee a 20 percent rate cut for residential and small business customers by the year 2002.”

Governor Wilson press release,9/23/1996

Brulte should have been recalled with Davis... Did you get your guaranteed 20% rate cut?
15 posted on 10/11/2003 9:09:43 AM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
The company I worked for tried to build a small facility in Stockton. After chewing thru the air resources board, the county and city boards and even a neighborhood vote, we moved to Reno and were up and running in 4 months

This perfectly explains my prior post. Gasoline refining is in the next set of crosshairs, IMO.
16 posted on 10/11/2003 9:09:59 AM PDT by ridesthemiles (ridesthemiles)
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To: Pokey78
Bump for later
17 posted on 10/11/2003 9:12:09 AM PDT by RhoTheta
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To: Clara Lou
[Our envirowhackos all seem to be clustered in Austin.]

Whacko Leftists tend to cluster around the Government nipple from which their validation flows (but I have no explanation for San Francisco)

18 posted on 10/11/2003 9:12:23 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
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To: freedumb2003
[Our envirowhackos all seem to be clustered in Austin.]

Austin being the only large Texas city to vote for Gore in 2000.

19 posted on 10/11/2003 9:20:38 AM PDT by RobbyS (CHIRHO)
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To: RobbyS
Austin being the only large Texas city to vote for Gore in 2000

I didn't know that Texas HAD an Ithaca.

20 posted on 10/11/2003 9:27:12 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
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To: freedumb2003
Austin was liberal back in 1960 when I first went to UT. The radical mania that began with Berkeley did not really hit UT,however, until LBJ left office.
21 posted on 10/11/2003 9:35:36 AM PDT by RobbyS (CHIRHO)
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To: Pokey78
Most importantly, the governor-elect would not restrict utilities from entering into long-term contracts for power. The restriction imposed by the 1996 deregulation plan forced Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities to buy at peak prices on the spot market. The earlier deregulation scheme also included a rate freeze that barred utilities from passing along the increased costs to customers.

At least they acknowledge part of the of problem last time we never really had true deregulation last it was more a government controlled cartel

I’m a free market capitalist and believe it the best system there is

However this does not mean there not crooks out there setting up sweetheart deal... Wilson’s bunch already screw us once... when this all said and done will it be government paws off or will they still be a finger in it to steer the deals to there buddies

I do not trust these people

22 posted on 10/11/2003 9:38:02 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: Cicero
Exactly so, and well said. Unless capacity is added, any dereg scheme will be just one hard winter away from another debacle (although presumably CA learned SOMEthing from the 2000-2001 fiasco). Why they don't use PA as a model is very curious; not a perfect plan, of course (what is?), but sound enough in its basics.
23 posted on 10/11/2003 10:16:31 AM PDT by SAJ
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To: ridesthemiles
The population isn't going to dramatically decrease.

Nope, the projections are that California will add another will have nearly 46 million residents in July of 2020. Where will they get the juice?

24 posted on 10/11/2003 10:36:49 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: lewislynn
So was Peace, remember?
25 posted on 10/11/2003 11:07:42 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: ridesthemiles
Build a few plants first by dealing with environmental regulation, then deregulate the power. The other way around costs too much.
26 posted on 10/11/2003 11:09:57 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
I have wasted far too many electrons proving that Steve Peace hijacked Brulte's bill, changed it, and herded it through the legislature. It is indisputable.

The only reason to deny that and to keep associating Brulte's name with it exclusively is an anti-GOP agenda.

27 posted on 10/11/2003 11:35:45 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Agreed. Posted facts with sources don't seem to change the contention.

I am nervous about trying deregulation of power pricing again without pumping up the supply side first with a major cut in regulatory snags to new plant and pipeline construction.
28 posted on 10/11/2003 11:43:50 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
I completely agree with that. The obstacles that have been placed in front of new power plant construction are enormous.

Power companies are reluctant to even begin the permitting process. It can take years and millions of dollars to find out the answer is no.

Governor Schwarzenegger can't eliminate those obstacles; only the legislature can do that. I imagine he can make some political appointments to the various regulatory agencies and commissions involved, which could help. I know he can make two appointments to the PUC, but it's the other boards involved that are the biggest problems.

Well, that and the NIMBY attitude of residents...

29 posted on 10/11/2003 1:02:08 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Governor Schwarzenegger can't eliminate those obstacles; only the legislature can do that. I imagine he can make some political appointments to the various regulatory agencies and commissions involved, which could help. I know he can make two appointments to the PUC, but it's the other boards involved that are the biggest problems.

Correct, he can make appointments. He can also exert significant pressure within department staff. After all, there's always exile. California is blessed with a variety of sensitive environments in need of their careful attention and vigilant protection, such as Needles, Barstow, and Twentynine Palms.

30 posted on 10/11/2003 1:16:45 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
If you were a power plant developer and operator, why would you build a plant that has an unprofitable ROI based on regulated power prices. You can't have it both ways.

The way to look at this is by observing what happened to the long distance telephone market after Judge Greens broke up ATT's monopoly.

The same thing can happen in the power industry. There will be innovation after innovation creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It is not unreasonable to expect portable fuel cell generators run off of natural gas lines or stored propane to be placed in new residential home tracts and replacing old distributed power lines.

America does best when America lets its free market system work.

Think about it.
31 posted on 10/11/2003 3:18:53 PM PDT by Hostage
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To: Hostage; snopercod; Robert357; Dog Gone
If you were a power plant developer and operator, why would you build a plant that has an unprofitable ROI based on regulated power prices. You can't have it both ways.

The way to look at this is by observing what happened to the long distance telephone market after Judge Greens broke up ATT's monopoly.

The same thing can happen in the power industry. There will be innovation after innovation creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It is not unreasonable to expect portable fuel cell generators run off of natural gas lines or stored propane to be placed in new residential home tracts and replacing old distributed power lines.

America does best when America lets its free market system work.

We have the same goals, so cut the ideological babble, OK? You have no idea who you are addressing. I have thought about it, a lot. My current occupation is all about designing transitions between regulatory and free-market systems.

California's production capacity has been artificially depressed by nothing less than regulatory racketeering over a period of twenty-five years. Environmental groups were funded in order to foist that shortage so that the companies owned by the tax-exampt foundations who funded them could make a killing. There are people who belong in jail. Bryson among them.

Now, deregulate in that environment again with that kind of shortage and the prices will spike in exactly the same manner they did before. Yes, investors would then race to fund construction and run into the same regulatory buzzsaw we have now. It's all happened before. It's an unnecessary shock to the system that creates irreversible and unnecessary damage to the customer base. It may be good for bankruptcy lawyers, enviro-litigators, and relocation consultants, but it's not good for California business. We are better off transitioning to a free market more slowly, even if it costs a bit more in the long run just to preclude the cost of that shock. It took us twenty five years to get into this mess; we can stand to be patient for a couple more to dig our way out.

The key is to increase the differnce between peak production capacity and peak demand. First, on the supply side, there is a fraction of capacity that can be increased relatively quickly by upgrading existing facilities. The whole point of eliminating new source review in those cases was to allow installation of cleaner equipment with marginally higher efficiency. That should move forward now. Second, there are a number of plants that have not been constructed but are permitted that pulled out their commitments in the middle of the mess a year ago. There is should be little to stop allowing those permits to be transferrable or renewable. Third, I would temporarily cap the profit on the sale of excess power by municipal utilities (only). On the demand side, I would instruct the PUC to ignore the meter-readers' unions and institute time-of-day metering on virtually all accounts as rapidly as possible. A program to put timers on electric water heaters similar to the referigerator rebate program would help there too. Fifth, I would work with the President on the Healthy Forests Iniative to get sufficient chips to existing biomass plants. The smoke from a power plant is a lot less harmful than the smoke from a forest fire given the same tonnage of material.

Power companies will accept a predictable return as long as they know that they won't get screwed later. There isn't a lot of difference to them between a moderate profit for longer and a wild profit for a few years followed by cutthroat competition (the usual pattern in deregulation). Two years is long enough to build enough capacity to soften the transition, especially with the reduced demand we have resutlting from the current recession. The regulatory cost of installations tying up construction funds, management, and personnel, is perhaps even a bigger downer to investing in California than is the PUC controlled market.

My guess is that within two years, the State could be ready to initiate a fully free market on the model of Texas. There probably will still be a bump in prices when the system releases to open market pricing because the State still needs an excess capacity of (my guess) 15-25% in order to accommodate both a recovery and an increasing population. The funds for that will come out of that bump. Two years isn't such a gory delay that offends the sensibilities of anybody who rationally supports free markets considering how long we have gone on with the existing stupidity. At least it keeps customers who can't tolerate the shock but can make it in the longer term from going bust unnecessarily.

32 posted on 10/11/2003 4:15:13 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
I agree with everything you said there, except that two years from now is far too optimistic. If sane regulations were in place now to allow plant construction, it would still be tight.

Given that it will take some time to roll back some of the rules (assuming the legislature is willing), and the time it takes for businesses to commit to make the investment, I think California will be hard pressed to expect new capacity on a large scale within five years. Unfortunately, it's likely to become a crisis before then, and a certainty if there is another drought.

I'd love to see California decide to build a new nuke. There's no reliance on fossil fuels, and no pipeline or emission issues. But now I'm just dreaming...

33 posted on 10/11/2003 4:35:13 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: lewislynn
Aren't you going to be out of a job soon, now that Davis is out?
34 posted on 10/11/2003 4:37:33 PM PDT by snopercod (Bambi meets Godzilla)
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To: Carry_Okie
It's an unnecessary shock to the system that creates irreversible and unnecessary damage to the customer base. Who's customer base?

It may be good for bankruptcy lawyers, enviro-litigators, and relocation consultants, but it's not good for California business.

Some businesses signed long term contracts that they are very happy with.

Was the breakup of long distance services years ago bad for business?

We are better off transitioning to a free market more slowly, even if it costs a bit more in the long run just to preclude the cost of that shock.

Sounds like a plan generated by a committee in the People's Republic of China.

Carrie_Okie:
I am not trying to insult you or argue but you accused me of ideological babble but what do you call your position other than ideology?

Also the ROI is a very important parameter in business planning that is linked to power prices. Even if the permitting process is streamlined, the pricing of power may preclude a decision to develop.

Lastly, there is nothing barring the currently contracted power providers form delivering power at a nonshock price for their remaining term while simultaneously allowing businesses to sign new contracts for new power services.

Good luck.

35 posted on 10/11/2003 6:05:57 PM PDT by Hostage
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To: Dog Gone
I agree with everything you said there, except that two years from now is far too optimistic. If sane regulations were in place now to allow plant construction, it would still be tight.

Yup. It's aggressive. Given the implementation of the suggested changes on the demand side, I think the curves cross in a doable fashion. Remember, we are only talking about peak capacity. Unless I miss my guess, between upgrades of existing equipment and permits in place now we might get a large fraction of that 5% in peak capacity we absolutely need within that time frame.

Given that it will take some time to roll back some of the rules (assuming the legislature is willing), and the time it takes for businesses to commit to make the investment, I think California will be hard pressed to expect new capacity on a large scale within five years.

I am not talking large scale. I think only 5% increase on the supply side and a 5% reduction in peak demand may be sufficient to keep the market from going berserk when we let it go. Of that 5% reduction, I think a lot of it could come from timers on water heaters and AC units. Of course, if Johnny boy has another fire in San Onofre...

Unfortunately, it's likely to become a crisis before then, and a certainty if there is another drought.

If there is a drought, you are correct there would have to be a delay. I am assuming all other factors remain equal.

I'd love to see California decide to build a new nuke. There's no reliance on fossil fuels, and no pipeline or emission issues. But now I'm just dreaming...

You and me both! How about ten of them? Hydrogen or desal plants would then be a real possibility.

36 posted on 10/11/2003 6:42:01 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
I haven't really been following the California peak capacity figures since the crisis eased last year, so I'm not sure how much reserve you have today. It varies by season, of course, but I think it's still low, less than 10%.

I did note, though, that California's population (according to state estimates) is projected to increase to 46 million people by 2020, up from 34 million in 2002. All things being equal, that means that you have to increase your supply by 25% in the next 17 years, just to stay dangerously thin.

How in the hell are you going to do it, since you can't build any more Shasta or Oroville dams?

37 posted on 10/11/2003 6:58:46 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Hostage
Who's customer base?

Power companies, obviously. Were you paying attention during the shortages of 2002? See the *calpowercrisis index for details.

Some businesses signed long term contracts that they are very happy with.

As negotiated by their hand picked boy working for Davis. There's a reason Edison International and John Bryson donated over a quarter million for Davis' election.

Was the breakup of long distance services years ago bad for business?

The initial conditions were different. You will recall that the infrastructure during the breakup of AT&T was entirely adequate to meet the ramp in demand. It was still a mess at first and didn't have to be.

Sounds like a plan generated by a committee in the People's Republic of China.

Well your preference to me looks to me like it was either cooked up in Steve Peace's office or based upon a poor understanding of the current physical condition of California's power grid, pipeline system, and generating capacity.

I am not trying to insult you or argue but you accused me of ideological babble but what do you call your position other than ideology?

You did insult me, you got pedantic on a very elementary level while making assumptions that are not supported by facts. The plan I suggested is a practical way out of a criminally induced shortage. There was racketeering, influence buying, manipulation... Why should the people and businesses of California reward that? Why should small businesses go bankrupt because of unnecessary price shocks?

Also the ROI is a very important parameter in business planning that is linked to power prices. Even if the permitting process is streamlined, the pricing of power may preclude a decision to develop.

Duh. Does it really matter that much if the ROI is spread out over five years instead of one as long as the area under the present value curve is the same? In many respects a power company might prefer the former.

Lastly, there is nothing barring the currently contracted power providers form delivering power at a nonshock price for their remaining term while simultaneously allowing businesses to sign new contracts for new power services.

Peace's deregulation did not permit long term contracts and was restricted to the spot market.

38 posted on 10/11/2003 7:00:34 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Dog Gone
LOL! Well we do have enough energy in excess fuel in our forests to make that difference on a sustainable basis. I don't suppose you knew that there is enough excess fuel in the 190 million acres of National Forest currently at risk of catastrophic fire to produce enough power to meet the residential electricity needs of 140 million Americans (with zero net added carbon). Of course, distribution would be a problem... Oh well, so much for the Wildlands Project!

Realistically, the only way we could make that kind of a change in production capacity is to simultaneously go nuclear and install micro-generating capacity for residential use, and do it in a damned hurry too. The latter seems to me more doable although fuel distribution is a problem. I agree with you, we are in a world of hurt.

I'm not thrilled with a California of 50 million, BTW. When a state grows that fast there are a lot of voters without a clue about the issues. I liked it better at 12.
39 posted on 10/11/2003 7:10:29 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: snopercod
Aren't you going to be out of a job soon, now that Davis is out?

My private business is better than ever...can you say the same?

40 posted on 10/11/2003 7:58:36 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Dog Gone
It is indisputable

Really?

1/30/01 Page B7 Editorials
Daniel Weintraub The Sacramento Bee
Deregulation bill author has dodged the bullet

Jim Brulte is hard to miss. As leader of the Republicans in the state Senate and a close California adviser to President Bush, Brulte is one of the Legislature's most visible members, in more ways than one. With a massive physique that might qualify him for a spot on the offensive line of a National Football League team, Brulte doesn't exactly slink his way through the Capitol.

But somehow he has escaped serious scrutiny for his role in shaping the bill now widely considered the state's biggest self-inflicted wound of the last decade, if not the century. Brulte was the author of the 1996 law that restructured California's electricity industry.

The senator from Rancho Cucamonga doesn't like to talk much about the bill that bears his name. But back then he was a proud father beaming over his new baby.

"This is a bill that I think will go down in the history books as one of the most far-reaching and forward-thinking pieces of legislation," Brulte said as the measure cleared the Assembly floor in August 1996.

Well, Brulte's bill is making the history books. But not in a chapter titled "Forward Thinking." Instead, the law has been blamed by many for unleashing the forces that ruined California's electricity industry and brought consumers, and the state, to their knees: rolling blackouts, price spikes and perhaps a load of debt as far as the eye can see.

The outcome has all but ended the political career of another legislator, Sen. Steve Peace of San Diego County. Peace, who was chairman of the Assembly-Senate conference committee that crafted the bill, has become known as the architect of electricity = deregulation. He has dropped plans to run for statewide office and is hardly involved, at least in public, as the Legislature grapples with the crisis.

But there's Brulte, still in the thick of things. As Republican leader, he has been one of four legislators working closely with Gov. Gray Davis to hammer out a rescue plan. Davis is so enamored of Brulte's help that the governor's press secretary said the other day he'd like to outfit the lawmaker with a Superman costume.

Brulte is unapologetic. Although he once proclaimed AB 1890 one for the history books, he now says his bill was overrated. By the time the Legislature got into the act, he says, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had already voted to deregulate electricity. The governor at the time - Pete Wilson - threatened to veto any bill that more than tinkered with the PUC's plan. Brulte provided a copy of a letter Wilson wrote to federal regulators that backs up this claim.

"The Wilson administration was at the table with us the entire time, and they let us know the parameters under which we could operate," Brulte said in an interview. "We knew exactly what we could put in and what we could not. We could not deal with any structural changes to the PUC order."

Brulte, though, didn't exactly march into Wilson's office and demand more leeway. He and the other members of the conference committee made a few changes to the PUC plan, winning the support of environmentalists and labor unions, and neutrality, rather than opposition, from several consumer groups. Then they sent it on its way.

"It was absolutely the right thing to do," Brulte said. "Deregulation was a fait accompli. It was just a question of mechanics."

The problems, in Brulte's view, came after his bill was signed into law. California's economy, and its demand for energy, grew faster than legislators expected. A consumer group, meanwhile, qualified an initiative for the 1998 ballot that threatened to repeal much of the new law. The uncertainty kept investors from pushing new power plants until the measure, Proposition 9, was defeated.

The energy shortage was compounded by two PUC decisions not envisioned by lawmakers, he said. One came when the commission encouraged the old monopoly utilities to sell all but their nuclear and hydroelectric power plants. The other was when the PUC held religiously to its view that the utilities should not buy power under long-term contracts as a hedge against future price increases. This lethal mix of policies left the utilities, and consumers, far too vulnerable to the private companies that bought the power plants and quickly learned how to play the market to their advantage.

Brulte concedes that, in hindsight, perhaps the Legislature should have intervened to fix the PUC's mistakes.

"Everyone in the Legislature wanted to believe that the PUC commissioners, these five experts appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, knew more about the utilities and the electricity markets than we did," he said. "In retrospect, it's kind of clear in some cases they didn't. In many cases they didn't."

So there's Brulte's story: The governor made him do it. Projections were wrong. The experts screwed up. All these things are true. But Brulte is supposed to be the smartest Republican in Sacramento. Smart people ask questions. Now he's got another chance. Let's hope this time he does more than simply go with the = flow.

Daniel Weintraub's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He can be reached at (916) 321-1914 or at = dweintraub@sacbee.com.

Funny, I didn't see one mention of being "hijacked" or "herded" by anyone but Pete Wilson and his appointee's.

41 posted on 10/11/2003 8:54:15 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Carry_Okie
So was Peace, remember?

Did I ever say Sen. Peace wasn't a part of it?

Assembly Bill 1890 was Assemblyman Brulte's bill, not Sen.Peace's bill...Brulte wanted credit for it, he deserves to get it.

BTW, I'll bet if it had turned out to be a brilliant plan you wouldn't be interjecting Peace's name into the discussion...would you.

42 posted on 10/11/2003 9:03:03 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: lewislynn
You completely ignore all the proof I have given you over the past couple of years of the legislative history of deregulation in California.

You won't even admit that Steve Peace had a role, much less that he drove the bill through the Senate and took over during the conference committee. That wouldn't be convenient to your agenda.

43 posted on 10/11/2003 9:06:56 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
You won't even admit that Steve Peace had a role

I've never denied it. Steve Peace had a roll, the legislation was introduced by (R) Assemblyman Brulte, then signed into law by (R) Pete Wilson...One Democrat "having a roll" in a disaster is hardly worth mentioning.

Electricity deregulation is, in my opinion a fraudulent act. To begin with there is NO deregulated market without price controls of some kind...it just happens the push for price controlled electricity deregulation is a Republican thing...I give credit where it's due.

44 posted on 10/11/2003 9:31:43 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Dog Gone
That wouldn't be convenient to your agenda.

Thanks for the compliment, you must think my words have some power. However, I hate to disillusion you but I don't have an "agenda". I do however have well thought out opinions you can't seem to grasp...or maybe you fear.

45 posted on 10/11/2003 9:37:30 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: lewislynn
Did I ever say Sen. Peace wasn't a part of it?

Yes, consistently.

BTW, I'll bet if it had turned out to be a brilliant plan you wouldn't be interjecting Peace's name into the discussion...would you.

Try citations to fact, please. You know that I excoriate Republicans when they deserve it, as did the unanimous caucus that endorsed the original deregulation bill. Brulte's name may be on it, but Peace made it happen. He took credit for it too, until it blew up in his face. Since then he has been was damned thorough about removing the evidence. I used to be able to find articles with him crowing about deregulation. All the links to such pages as I had are now dead.

Who controls the present, controls the past...

46 posted on 10/11/2003 9:46:45 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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To: Carry_Okie
Brulte's name may be on it, but Peace made it happen

When you come out of the Santa Cruz fog look at post #41 to see who "made it happen".

In your hatred for me you resort to idiocy to appear to make your point. My condeming of the ones responsible for the debacle isn't an endorsement for the other side...that kind of thinking is idiocy at best.

It wasn't introduced by Peace nor was it signed into law by Peace...Care to counter that?

47 posted on 10/11/2003 9:55:21 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Carry_Okie
All the links to such pages as I had are now dead.

Who controls the present, controls the past...

The same is true of the Wilson and Brulte links...Everyone plays the game by the same rules.

48 posted on 10/11/2003 9:57:47 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: Carry_Okie
Did I ever say Sen. Peace wasn't a part of it?

Yes, consistently.

That's a blatant lie BTW, I've posted the actual bill and highlighted (then) Senator Peace's name under "principal co-author" too many times to remember to make my point that he was/is NOT the author of the Assembly bill.

Your idiocy is turning to lies now.

49 posted on 10/11/2003 10:07:01 PM PDT by lewislynn
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To: lewislynn; snopercod; SierraWasp; Dog Gone
That's a blatant lie BTW, I've posted the actual bill and highlighted (then) Senator Peace's name under "principal co-author" too many times to remember to make my point that he was/is NOT the author of the Assembly bill.

Not to me. What I've seen you highlight is Brulte's name, and I've had to shove this factoid down your gagging throat every time I saw you lay blame exclusively upon Brulte and Wilson (which can't be every time you've posted it). You've also stated, repeatedly and falsely, that it was under a Republican control of the Assembly. You did it so many times I had to keep permanent linkz on file here and here to put in front of you whenever you repeated that bogus story.

I have never denied that the Republicans had a significant role in crafting and passing the deregulation bill, but in my judgment (and his), Peace is primarily responsible for the final article.

Your idiocy is turning to lies now.

I see that, seeing as Dog Gone already announced your BS in advance, I'll need others to confirm it for you. Fortunately, your loose and shrill rhetorical habits are well known.

50 posted on 10/12/2003 6:00:40 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California: Where government is pornography every day!)
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