December 23, 1996 in Nation/World

Topsy-Turvy Logic, Wwp Letter Of The Week: From Dec. 13

 

Is Washington Water Power living with Alice in Wonderland?

What kind of topsy-turvy logic is it that says consumers of electricity who suffered financially and physically from the recent power outage should be grateful that WWP is not raising its rates? If anything, WWP should be grateful that consumers have not (yet) instituted a class-action suit against it to cover the costs of lost work, spoiled food, medical bills and other hardships caused by the power outage.

While the recent outage was severe, it was not unique. Not a year goes by we do not lose power through falling trees. North Idaho is timber country and trees do grow and fall. The obvious answer to this problem is to bury the lines.

I lived in Iceland and recently returned from New Zealand. Both countries have sparse populations but still find it economical to bury their power lines. New Zealand lays double lines so that in case there is trouble with the active line, it is no trouble to switch to the other one. Power outages due to line trouble are extremely rare in both countries.

WWP operates as a regulated monopoly. The consumer has no choice but to pay the designated rate - there is no competition. In return, WWP should be expected to provide uninterrupted service. When interruptions do occur, WWP should bear the cost of repair as well as compensation to the consumer regardless of the effect on its profit. Ed Bittner Sagle, Idaho

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