We believe that as long as the people are given cheap electricity at any cost, there will be no effective competition in the utilities arena.
We believe that we, as a people, should pay our fair share for what we get. If we want instantaneous, hassle-free, energy it should be more expensive than energy that is alternatively created with its inconveniences and limitations.
There is a balance in things that should be maintained. As long as anything is allowed to remain imbalanced, there will be unfairness and wrongful actions. To correct this there could be a surcharge enacted on all utility bills which properly reflect the full social cost of obtaining or producing that energy.
Monies obtained from such a surcharge could be put into a separate fund and dedicated to clean renewable energy, rebating a portion of the bill of purchasing and installing these clean renewable energy products.
If we, are a people, could accept just a portion of the actual costs to our environment, we could use the proceeds to mitigate our vulnerability to sabotage from unfriendly sources.
Today we concentrate our power plants in just a few, easily found, places and make these plants huge in capacity, supplying energy to thousands (if not millions) and creating easy targets for those who would hurt us.
By creating new "distributed power centers" we begin to supply smaller amounts of our total need, creating many such smaller power plants and networking them. We can build more invincibility to our energy grid. Based on the "computer network" made up of smaller computers interconnected instead of a few "supercomputers" we could have the same total power production (or more) but spread out and more completely interfaced. The system would, in effect, take on an invisability&endash;no power center to be found, no center to be destroyed.
Let our current big, dirty generator plants continue to function, supply our current needs but start now in the work towards a cleaner, safer future. Accept that our current cheap energy IS dirty energy and pay the social costs NOW, do not wait until the price is too high. Use what time we may have to constructively build without negatively turning against our own.
We stand at a unique time today. Most States are actively examining their future in utility management. The governing boards are examining their rules and statutes revising and promoting competition or choosing to revert to the old egalitarian ways. Whichever way the state authorities decide they are now actively open to ideas. Now is when we can all review our situation and openly share&endash;now is the opportunity to recruit support of ideas from those who have the authority and responsibility to govern. Arizona’s utility commissioners are deep in their analysis and decision making process, we should hare our thoughts with them directly.
Let us use current energy generation as a platform, as the initial step from which we can take the next step. In this way we can use the best of what we’ve already created, we can now add actual costs enough (through surcharges) to promote a whole new level of clean renewable power.
Larry E. Bell
North East Arizona Energy Services Company
A Million Solar Roofs State and Local Partnership
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