Expanding electric power

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — When California deregulated the utility industry in 2000, it was a colossal failure and resulted in the manipulation of the energy market, skyrocketing electricity rates and rolling brownouts.

Governor Jerry Brown wants another shot at deregulating the industry.

This time, by expanding the state’s electricity grid by linking the grid to several western states.

This plan was proposed by Pacificorp, which has customers in six states, including California. The plan is to manage renewables but three of the states produce no renewable energy.

The governor had the original deregulation law amended to move this plan forward but there are those, including some legislative leaders who are wary of being shocked again.

"He’s proposing that California essentially merge with Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. Those are all wonderful states but they have no commitment to renewables and the idea of the manipulation of the energy prices again is very high," said attorney, Mike Aguirre.

Aguirre will argue against this scheme at a public hearing in Sacramento on Thursday. He wonders why a nonprofit government agency, which manages our grid, would merge with a for profit company, Pacificorp.

"You never see a for profit merging with a non profit and that’s how far afield these guys have gotten," Aguirre said. "We’re gonna privatize and deregulate and trust that the big corporations that are hugely powerful are going to treat us right."

It certainly didn’t work under the first deregulation 16 years ago.

"Of course it turned out to be the opposite, we went from $7 billion to $27 billion in electricity costs in one year," Aguirre added.

We recovered from that mistake by allowing utilities to control most of their generation and transmission.

The governor’s plan would reverse that.

"Who in their right mind would go back and embrace the energy deregulation again and who would transfer the control of our transmission lines, who would give those away?" Aguirre said.

Aguirre said all of this is under the guise of managing renewables to help solar developers sell power when its not needed in California.

"There’s nothing in the legislation that requires anything to do with renewables," he said.

The idea is to transfer power among these states, but we could end up sending renewable energy to those states and getting dirty energy from the three states that have coal-fired power plants.

Categories: Local San Diego News