Thursday, March 1, 2007

A kilowatt in every pot

Over the years I've written dozens of letters to the Editor and promptly tore them up. I just don't want to get into an Opinion-page war.

Then I saw
Power for the future CNMI (Saipan Tribune) and broke my rule. The letter went something like this:

A kilowatt in every pot (Hoot, Hoot: The Saipan Tribune decided that the headline Privatizing CUC is not such a good idea was better. I still like mine. What do you think?)

I normally find letters to the Editor interesting and provocative. Often I agree with them, but not in the case of privatizing CUC.

I don't think anyone would disagree that "There is already in existence tidal power, wind power, water turbines, wave power and a host of other fuels that can be used to run the motors for the generators." How are we going to pay for these new sources? I don't think the central government has any loose change in its pockets.

Try putting solar panels or a windmill on your roof and you'll get an idea of how expensive these technologies are to install. Sure, they'll save money in the long run, but where's the money coming from now?

Maybe CUC could float a bond. With its finances, the bond rating would be low and the payments enormous. Well, I guess they could just raise rates again so those nasty underwriters could get a return on their investment. That's the problem with businesses, they just don't like to give money away. Why can't everybody be like the U.S. DOE?

Yep, a private company would want to make a return on its investment. It would also want to make money on any capital improvements. The world is just so unfair.

Unfortunately, the energy party is over, and you and I are going to have to pay to catch up. Fortunately, the LIHEAP program is available for low-income households. I don't want you to think I'm against all socialist ideas.

Monopolies always have to be watched; that's why a Public Utilities Commission is needed to monitor rates. I'm just concerned that the PUC would have the same anti-business attitude prevalent throughout the Commonwealth, which a recent letter writer represents so ably. (Well, I'd like to know what the privatization proposal actually says, too.) Any company would have to think twice about risking its money where it's a sin to make a profit.

Then again, maybe Hugo Chavez will give us the money, or send fuel. He likes to tweak Uncle Sam's nose. Heck, he might even help us buy back the telephone system. I miss the days of aboveground wires and four-digit phone numbers.

I could go on, but this is already too long. I'd be happy to chat about it if anyone wants to drop by

PS That's blatant self-promotion, in case you SEO buffs are watching. Let's see if they leave it in

PPS Holani Smith call home. I didn't get a phone call or email to confirm the letter. Sure it was sent from, but it took me less than five minutes to set up that account.


Saipan Writer said...

There are a myriad of issues with privatization of CUC. I'm not sufficiently well-informed to strongly argue for or against it, but I have NO CONFIDENCE that our current government could award such a contract without corruption.

Whenever our current governor says it's time to get private companies for something, I wonder who he has in mind and what hidden cost, i.e. kickback, is included.

Perhaps I'm being cynical.

But this worry makes my default opinion no.

KAP said...

I agree totally, except...what's the alternative? I especially don't like the privatization proposal being some sort of state secret. It would be nice if the Publisher of one of the papers could spring for a copy.

I keep hearing noises that the part that works pretty well, i.e. working stiffs, will be privatized. The management, well, that's too important.

And, hopefully there will be an elected AG by this time next year.

dj guy said...

take a look at various independent studies from credible groups (not funded by cuc or cnmi govt.) and you will see the truth behind "privatization". cuc has been purposely run to the ground to effectively make privatizing it "seem" a better option for the people. our government is so corrupt, it is blinded by its own greed. the truth will soon prevail, not everyone is blind!