Customers Responsible For Electric Shortage

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I found the editorial cartoon concerning electric utilities, page 4A,Tuesday, Sept. 26, interesting. I interpreted the cartoon as placing the blame for the current shortage of electricity on the electric utility.

I happen to partially agree. But we, the utility's customers, let these electric utilities put us into this shortage situation. So who should really shoulder the blame for this situation: the electric utilities or us, the electricity customer?

Once upon a time, before electric utility competition, each electric utility was wholly responsible for providing the amount of electricity needed to supply their customers within their service area.

Now, after electric generation competition has come into being, these same electric utilities are not responsible for providing and meeting the demand (KW) or energy (KWH) requirements for their customers. "Others" called generation suppliers according to the competition regulations (de facto law) have assumed that responsibility.

Fact: None of the electric utilities serving customers within Arizona SRP, APS, TEPCO, Citizens Utilities, AEPCO have brought a large generating station (meaning over 150 MW net output) on-line for over 15 years. If you look at which utilities have started the planning process to construct a large power generating plant, you would have to go back almost 25 years.

Also a fact: When the government push from the Clinton administration to deregulate electric utility generation began almost eight years ago, all planning stopped for construction of new power generating plants. If you doubt this, please check with any and all of the electric utilities within Arizona.

Therefore, because we the electric utility customers did not get our elected representatives in Arizona and Washington to override the Clinton Administration's decisions, then by de facto, we, the electric customer, have to assume the larger portion of responsibility for this electricity shortage.

James Jones, Pine

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