public power

Local Power, Sustainability, and Democracy

Campaign for Local Power —The above video tells some of the story of the recent successful electrical municipalization effort in Boulder Colorado. It also says that the power company, Excel energy, is mounting an election campaign to challenge the successful grass roots effort (they were outspent 10 to 1 — similar to what happened here in Thurston with the Public Power Initiative.)

So what do you think? Do you like the idea of clean, sustainable, renewable supplies of power? You know, PSE uses coal to generate about 1/3 of electricity supplied to the Puget Sound region, yes it's true. And much of that coal fired electricity comes from a coal plant all the way over in Eastern Montana, from a company town called Colstrip, which was built around and along with the coal plant. I traveled there and visited briefly in late July, and this is some of what I saw:

High Voltage Lines from Colstrip Montana Electrical Generator
Here are high voltage transmission lines on the way out of Colstrip. The lines are owned and operated by the Federal Public BPA (Bonneville Power Administration.)

Here's a panorama shot of the scene from the roadway before the plant:
Colstrip 9 image composite
The Colstrip Montana Electric Generating Station. See more photos from July 2013 here (and a larger size version is posted here, below the fold.) Also, a 1986 book by David T. Hanson, features a great collection of photos of the power plant and surrounding areas. It's available on the Internet. And the Sierra Club has a group dedicated to specifically working on this issue to break PSE's dirty coal habit, that website: Coal Free PSE.

JPUD and BPA Celebrate New Partnership

JeffPUD (Jefferson County PUD #1) and BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) celebrated their new partnership last week, on Tuesday the 11th of June 2013. Here is a video report by Olympic Peninsula video reporter, Jeff Chew.

Public v. Private Electrical Service, The Story of Big Money Election Influence

Under the Radar: How a Multinational Corporation Quietly Bought a County-Wide ElectionIn a new piece of writing about last year's county-wide electrical service contest, John D. Pearce, former chair Thurston Public Power Initiative Chair argues the electrical system would better be held in public trust for the benefit of the common wealth, rather than held privately by a corporate monopoly. 

Here's the link, Under the Radar: How a Multinational Corporation Quietly Bought a County-Wide Election

Did you know that PSE broke the record 5x over for spending in a Thurston County-wide election? PSE quintupled the previous high-spending mark. What do you think?

Support Public Power Response to Misinformation

  Updated  Sunday 4 November 2012

    PSE's campaign to protect their monopoly has been filled with misinformation. Puget Sound Energy asserts that the area has been well served. Well, the fact is that Puget charges the highest rates in the State of Washington. Period. And, PSE has one of the worst reliability ratings. Paying the highest rates for some of the worst service is outrageous and unacceptable, and if it weren't for the Puget PR machine, people would be up in arms.

    We have paid the highest electrical rates, in part, to satisfy million dollar executive salaries. In 2006 the CEO took $3.2 million a year. Now we are not even told how much they take. It's an outrage!

    Claims have been made that were Prop One to pass the county electrical service would suddenly be thrust onto the Public Utility District. These claims patently and blatantly false. It is painful to have to respond to such misinformation, and to know that the PSE Goliath has more money than they can stuff into their britches to spend on peddling this and other misinformation.

    After passage of Prop One, and what would be a cautious and gradual entry into the electrical business, funding for schools, roads, police, and fire departments would not be at risk. PUDs and other municipal entities make payments in lieu of taxes in order to support services that society has come to depend on.

Yes on Thurston County Proposition 1

A Yes vote on Proposition 1 is a vote for local control, and will benefit county electrical consumers, workers, as well as the environment. It's win win. Protect rate-payers, labor, and environment. Protect against the Macquarie/PSE extraction machine.

Website: Thurston Public Power Initiative
Facebook: Thurston Public Power Initiative

You can help by sharing with friends. Your neighbors thank you!

Politics and Entertainment? Why Not?

M & I are working on two campaigns for the regular election. The first is Thomas Bjorgen's run for the Court of Appeals. Tom would simply make a superb judge and I think it's going to happen. I am certainly going to work to make it happen.

The second campaign we are pounding on is the Thurston Public Power Initiative. This initiative will allow the existing Public Utility District to expand from water services to water and electricity. Thurston is the only county in SW Washington that does not have a public power option. We are going to fix that. This is a pretty simple matter of keeping electric rates low by allowing for competition.

A private banking company from Australia purchased Puget Sound Energy a few years ago. PSE is not a local company and the Macquarie Group that owns PSE took 17 million dollars out of Thurston County last year in profits. These profits were offset by the power outages that occurred in Thurston County last winter with the ice storm. I am on PUD power in Lewis County, my power never blinked. Some PSE customers in Thurston County were without power for a week or more. Some advocates for the PSE power monopoly think the solution is that homeowners buy generator sets for back up power.

Lots of us think the solution is local jobs trimming the trees and maintaining the lines, local power generation through a PUD that is rooted in the local community and has a commitment to local, sustainable power generation, and local accountability. The PUD commissioners get to face the voters on a regular basis. When do we get to vote on the management of the Macquarie Group or Goldman Sachs or other private financial institutions?

Public power or private profits? That is the choice.


Pud Power or PSE Macquarie Group Profits

Power for the people? or Power for Profit? That's the other regular election issue that I am really geared up to work on for the next few months.

We have a chance in Thurston County to assert local control through the ballot to establish local power, local accountability, and local jobs.

The Thurston Public Power Initiative is on the ballot. This a very simple measure that opens the door for competition for efficient power generation. The Macquarie Group PSE is pulling out all the stops to defeat the Initiative and it's easy to figure out why. I think the figure is 17 million dollars in profits that were take out of Thurston County last year and deposited in the coffers of the Australian banking giant - the Macquarie Group.

I notice that an R Castaneda was posting in the Daily Zero with a letter in favor of the The Macquarie Group PSE yesterday. Castaneda says he(?) lost power for one day last winter with the ice storm. and his recommendation to folks who lost power for many days is simple: buy a generator.

Who needs local jobs maintaining the lines, trimming the trees, restoring the power? Just ship the profits to a struggling international bank and buy a generator set.

I am not sure what to say about that, but I am not planning to buy a generator set.

Stay up to date with Thurston Public Power Initiative

In case you haven't already heard, the Thurston Public Power Initiative is on the ballot. Over 15,000 signatures were gathered and the campaign handily blew by the necessary 10,734 mark to qualify for the ballot. It was the first ever county-wide petition for a ballot initiative. You can find more information about the campaign on the website: There's also a Facebook Page:

We're throwing a party for Thurston County, to celebrate the launch of the campaign, everyone's invited. Details for that below.

The Initiative is up against formidable opposition, and can definitely use your support. Please vote YES for Public Power, tell your friends and family. Authorize the Public Utility District (PUD) to go into electricity. Thank you, and cheers!

party details:

It's Party Time!

Thursday August 9 - A party for all of Thurston County - Thank You! Thurston County Voters for your effort to collect signatures, as well as other supporters of the Public Power Initiative. Those of you who want to know what the BUZZ is all about, please attend! Desserts and Drink will be provided. Dessert potluck, bring your favorite dessert if you want to show off a little :-)

What: Official Launch of Electoral Campaign for PUD Party!

Who is Puget Sound Energy? Check the Title and See Who Owns PSE


Thurston County will get to vote to authorize the Public Utility District to expand into electricity in November. It is on the ballot, friends. We did it. No paid signature gatherers, just volunteers knocking on doors.

Let's talk about Puget Sound Energy for a moment. It is not a Puget Sound based company despite the name. PSE is owned by the Macquarie Group of Australia. I have nothing against Australians, but the Macquarie Group appears to be an investment company. A slinger of high finance instruments including Collateralized Debt Obligations, one of the casino style financial models that create privatized profit and socialized risk.

The SEC is reported to be considering lawsuits against the Mac Group. Should we continue to trust them with an electricity monopoly in Thurston County or should we vote for PUD Power and have them compete with a utility that is locally owned, locally controlled, and locally accountable? Want to know more about Macquarie Group? here's a piece from The Australian:

Macquarie Group unit faces US probe over deal


Thurston Public Power Initiative

Thurston Public PowerThe campaign to get the Thurston County Public Power Initiative on the ballot is rumored to have collected more than 11K signatures!   It should be assumed that there are hundreds of invalid, duplicate signatures, so the campaign continues.  We need to round up a couple thousand more signatures to make sure that the public power initiative makes it on to the ballot.   

Puget Sound Energy can be expected to pump a lot of money into a campaign to defeat the initiative, but only folks with short memories are going to forget the ice storm last winter and the long power outages provided by Private, Profitable Power.   We can do better than that.  A public power district will value line maintenance and jobs trimming the trees more than profit. 

If you are a Thurston County registered voter and you haven't signed the petition for public power yet, come and sign up.  Need more information? 

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