Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cities Resist Stupid Warmie Laws

Come January 1, a new California law will take effect that will prohibit California utilities from buying power generated by "dirty" power plants.

High minded. Low reality coefficient.

Before passing such a law, the Legislature should have considered whether California was ready for it. With coal-fired plants in Utah being the largest source of power for Los Angeles and five other SoCal cities, the answer is clearly no.

The Legislature also should have considered whether it would have any effect on global warming. The answer again is no. The plant is built and will simply have to sell its power elsewhere until technologies to clean coal emissions to California standards can be developed.

So, the LAT reports, cities are scrambling to renew their contracts with the Intermountain Power Agency before Jan. 1, so they can be grandfathered in and avoid the new law. Some quotes:
"We in Burbank don't believe that law will reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Burbank Water and Power Assistant Manager Fred Fletcher, who added that extending its contract with the Intermountain Power Agency in Delta, Utah, would save ratepayers $300 million to $600 million. The mayor and council voted unanimously last week to extend their contract to 2044.

"[Not renewing] would be akin to paying off the mortgage to your house only to have it revert to the previous owner," said Pasadena Water & Power General Manager Phyllis Currie.
Currie's point is that LA-area cities have been paying off the costs of building the plant since the 1980s, and would lose a 50% drop in electrical costs once it's paid off, in 2027.

This is the problem with legislated "solutions." The Legislature cannot work with cities and utilities to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements; it can only pass laws that attempt to fund, or club, an issue into a malleable mass it can push in its direction. In this case, with cities dependent on an out-of-state power plant, all the legislature could do was act unreasonably, and all the cities could do was act to protect their citizens.

The Utah plant's biggest shareholder is the LA Dept. of Water and Power, which opted not to renew its contract, which expires in 21 years. DWP told the LAT it hopes other technologies will be in place when the contract expires.

It didn't tell the LAT that it didn't mind screwing its customers in the name of global warming. That's what it's doing by forsaking the future 50% rate decrease from Intermountain -- in the hopes that new technologies not only will be available, but will be priced competitively.

Like I said before, low reality coefficient.

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