Tuesday, September 02, 2008

PSC: What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's wrong with this picture?
The fate of the potential sale of two Upstate utilities to a company that wants to invest as much as $2 billion in wind energy in New York was thrown into doubt Wednesday by the illness of one state regulator and the marriage plans of another. . .

Supporters of the deal have emphasized Iberdrola's position as one of the world's largest generators of wind energy and its plan to invest as much as $2 billion in new wind-power facilities in the state. Opponents have voiced concerns about the company having too much power to influence prices since it would own both generating and distribution facilities - something the commission generally prohibits.

  1. Why should two commissioners being out of commission hold up an important decision?
  2. Why is PSC even considering allowing Iberdrola to own both generation and transmission facilities when it has (wrongfully in my view) prohibited that opportunity to others?

The first question suggests that there is a fundamental problem with the way PSC has been organized.

The second question suggests that the legislature has ducked making fundamental policy decisions and passed on too much of its responsibility to an unelected group of political suck-ups without clear standards for decision making.

Maybe that's why New York's utility bills are so high compared to those of other states. The important decisions are not made by elected representatives, but by an elite circle of industry insiders working through political operatives.

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