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October 12, 2013 at 7:35 AM
We must prepare now to avoid cost later
The recent water main break in Monroe should serve as a wake-up call. [“Broken water main fixed, Monroe schools to reopen,” online, Oct. 1].
If taxpayers and ratepayers want to avoid unaffordable utility bills and huge liabilities in the future, they must insist now on more competition in the way public officials manage the water systems.
According to a study released by the National Taxpayers Union, roughly half a trillion dollars in government expenditures could be saved over the next four decades by adopting techniques such as open procurement for pipe materials and better asset management. The Mayors Water Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has also voiced support for such processes.
It’s time for community leaders here and across the nation to be more proactive in embracing fiscally responsible approaches to water policy.
Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union
August 2, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Utilities need to move with the times
My advice for power companies worried about solar power: get over it, get a new business model, or get out. [“Solar customers costing us, utilities say,” Business, July 31.]
Buggy manufacturers had a similar response when automobiles first hit the scene. It is time to join the 21st century.
New energy technologies are not just novel, they are necessary for the survival of the planet and her inhabitants.
Bob Barnes, Seattle
July 31, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Continue the conversation
Diane Cardwell’s article in The Times only tells a fraction of the story of electric utilities and solar customers, but it is a conversation starter. [“Solar customers costing us, utilities say,” Business, July 31.]
What is missing? Costs that utilities create that are borne by customers: climate change, heavy-metal pollution, water consumption, water pollution, ecosystem destruction, excessive rates, to name a few.
Also not mentioned is the fact that utilities invest in peaking power plants that are of less use when the percentage of customer generation increases. Electric utilities are stodgy by nature, so why is their whining so important?
The integration of solar has been in the works for 20 years; had utilities done some forward thinking, they would have worked out a way to use customer generation to their advantage.
Jeremy Smithson, Puget Sound Solar, Seattle
The power companies and their investment-bank owners should be able to see an obvious pathway to continued hegemony and profits, while cutting fossil-fuel use dramatically.
The solution? Charge all customers a flat fee for the grid use and lease people’s rooftops for company-owned solar-panel systems.
The power companies would continue to make billions (and pay millions in fines) and we could all have air conditioning and watch TV. Everyone’s a winner.
Robert Reed, Seattle
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