June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:52 PM
"Power problem should have been solved years ago I am a journeyman lineman. I have worked in the field of electrical power distribution for 37 years. I am angry. The Banana, Nimby and environmentalists have place the Pacific Northwest in trouble. The men and women of the electric power industry have worked and planned to provide for an adequate and economical supply of energy. In 1949, Seattle City Light constructed Ross Dam on the Skagit River. Provisions were made to increase the height of the dam by 125 feet. An agreement with the British Columbia Government allowed the lake behind the dam to extend 40 miles into Canada. In the mid 1980s, when the construction of the additional height was to proceed, Banana, Nimby and the environmentalists fought against the project. They also campaigned in Canada against the development. The dam was not raised. They won. We all lost. Several other hydroelectric generations projects died as a result of these obstructionist efforts. At about the same time the Washington Public Power Supply System started construction of several steam turbine generation plants near Satsop. These same people agitated and impeded the construction. Cost overruns were the result and the utilities involved cut their losses and ran, trying to escape liability. Wouldn't it be nice to have these sources of power on line now? All the electric utilities in the Northwest have cooperated to provide ample electric power to their customers at a fair price. Ties with other states, including California, are part of this successful program. Under deregulation, California utilities sold their generation facilities to several large corporations from whom they were to purchase the power necessary to serve their customers. These corporations are the villains. Citing a shortfall in capacity they have created a bidding market resulting in a cost increase of 1,000 percent. Their cost of generation has not gone up more than a few percent. The difference is pure greed. The actions of these unscrupulous and greedy corporations is doing harm to our entire nation. Had plans for increased power generation in Washington State gone through the extra power would now be on-line and the present supply problem would be nonexistent. EARLE L. WILLEY Indianola "