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Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Memo to Erik, Vera and Randy

The Multnomah County PUD has been defeated at the polls by a 3-to-1 margin.

I repeat: The Multnomah County PUD has been defeated at the polls by a 3-to-1 margin.

I repeat once again: The Multnomah County PUD has been defeated at the polls by a 3-to-1 margin.

Please come to your senses and stop talking about having the city government take over PGE.

Thank you.

Comments (9)

For "tell me three times" to work you'd have to believe they are dinkum thinkums. Homey don't play that.

I was one of those who voted in the majority against the PUD. In fact, I wrote a letter (requested of me by PGE and Pacific Power)posted on the anti-PUD's WEB site that stated my reasons for opposing the PUD. Comparing the PUD with the city's attempt to acquire Enron's PGE is like comparing apples and oranges.

Supporting Enron in its attempt to further screw ratepayers, workers and large industrial users is not something I signed up for. PGE is not a private enterprise....it is a regulated monopoly that has succeded in driving its rates up 48% since Enron has taken over.

I can bore you with the gory details or just say that removing PGE from ENRON and its creditors is in all of our best interests....even if it means we must condemn Enron's PGE to get there.
Randy Leonard


Thanks for responding. I'm not surprised that the city is plowing ahead, but I think the "apples to oranges" point needs much further explanation. To me the vote says, "No public power." Why does it not say the same to you?

Moreover, is it possible that voters (or PGE) will eventually force any city condemnation to a public vote? In which case, they'd spend more millions, the condemnation would be blocked by a ballot measure, and we'd be out even more expense beyond the $1 million or so that the Council's already blown on this?

Further, given the problems at the Water Bureau, how can the city realistically think it can run PGE?

Given that Jim F.'s against this, and that for all I know, Tom Potter is too, how can this effort succeed over the wishes of the next mayor?

Maybe Erik's the guy to speak to this. But somebody should.

There is a good article on the subject of the city attempting to acquire PGE in today's Oregonian.

The vote, in my opinion, was not a referendum on private Vs public power. As I said, I think most voters had the same reaction I did to the PUD, i.e., ill thought out, dismembered a functioning grid into inefficient parts without generating capabilities, and last but not least, the voters picked Ron McCarty and four others to the PUD board. Enough said.

There is a host of private sector industrial users of PGE electricity that are livid about their rates going up 48% since Enron began calling the shots. They have, through their representatives, communicated to me they would support a public buyout of PGE if the utility were not run by the city. We have committed to having a private sector company (one possibility is NW Natural Gas) operate the day to day management of PGE.

As I said earlier, this is not a "public sector Vs private sector" debate. PGE does not compete with another company thereby producing electricity at it's lowest possible cost with minimal overhead. Anything but.

These arguments, by the way, do not apply to Pacific Power. They run their utility in stark contrast to Enron's PGE.
Randy Leonard

When the city signs that contract with that utility operator (and I think NW Natural is wishful thinking on your part), there will be a big chunk of profit built in for the operator's shareholders. And the city will bear all the downside risk, you can bet your bottom dollar on that.

Then in a few years, after the city and this operator are inextricably tied to each other, as a practical matter there will be no real competition for that operations contract any more. Eventually, when it's time to renegotiate the contract, the operator will gouge the city. (By then, the operator you originally dealt with will probably have been taken over by another huge utility company -- Scottish Power, Son of Enron, Texaco/Shell, who knows who it might be?) The city will really have no choice at that point but to pay outrageous, unregulated monopoly profits to the contractor. There'll probably be no more state PUC protection at that point.

And since the city wouldn't want to pass those awful charges on to its important industrial base, guess who will pick up the tab? Property taxpayers, of course.

Do you know what buying PGE would do to the city's already shaky credit rating? I know what the consultant's probably telling you -- it's Goldman Sachs ("We put the bank back in bankruptcy"), isn't it? But have you asked someone who isn't taking a commission on the deal if it goes through?

This is a "city think" project, Randy. You should know better.

I get my power from PGE. I don't live in Portland. So, I don't get to vote on what Portland does with my power.

I don't get to vote at PGE's shareholder meeting either. But, I have seen Portland mismanage schools, water utilities, boondoggle trams, etc. PGE, on the other hand, keeps supplying me with power at a rate that is fairly reasonable. To me PGE seems a lot more competent than Portland.

As far as Portland goes, I don't like those people. I don't trust those people.

I really resent that Portland is going to mess with my functioning utility (pulling Eminent Domain) and not give me a vote. And, they are going to use the emotional argument of Enron, in a anti-corporate city, to get away with it.

Jack you wondered back during the income tax/school debates why the “stupid, rednecks in rural Oregon” get pissed off at Portland. Games like this are why. That and Portland has the most self-righteous people I have ever dealt with.

Everything you fear may occur if the city acquires PGE is, in my opinion, what is now occurring under Enron's current management of PGE...with PUC approval.

I take this position for no reason other than I believe that we will create a more reliable, efficient and responsible utility than what currently exists under Enron's ownership.

I get that the city has been it's own worst enemy at times in making the case that we will be responsible stewards of the power delivery system. However, I have faith that we will manage the electrical grid in a much more responsible manner than Enron has or ever will.
Randy Leonard

Randy: I respect your opinion. But be aware that you are out there on a political limb, the PGE boys play rough, and the city's not bringing a whole lot of talent or experience to the table. We'll all be watching -- and worrying.

I agree with you last posting 100%...Thanks...


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