Friday, May 26, 2006

PGE: still screwing us every day

Over at Steve Duin's blog there's a nasty laundry list of problems with Portland General Electric:

-- Even as the utility asks the Oregon PUC to approve an 8.9 percent rate increase, The Oregonian's Gail Kinsey Hill reports that the annual base salary of CEO Peggy Fowler just jumped from $384,000 to $610,000. When PGE -- er, Enron, which still owns more than 50 percent of the utility's stock -- throws in bonuses and incentives, Fowler's total compensation may exceed $1.5 million.

-- PGE's coal-burning plant at Boardman is polluting a dozen parks and wilderness areas, according to the U.S. Forest Service, and PGE has no plans to upgrade the plant, and deal with the problem, for the next five years.

--All the while, PGE and PacifiCorp continue to spend hundreds of thousands of lobbying dollars in an ongoing attempt to scuttle or eviscerate Senate Bill 408, which requires that when the utility bills customers for state and federal taxes, it actually forwards those sums to the proper taxing authorities.

Its time to revisit the idea of public power. Other regions do it very successfully.

What are people so afraid of when it comes to public power? It can't be a helluva lot worse than what we're getting now.