Anyone live in a city that owns it's own power?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Grant B, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    San Francisco keeps talking about buying out PG&E and running its own power but naysayers talk about the problems associated with it.
    Anyone live in a city where it's owned by the city/country government?
    Just curious if it's a good thing or a bad thing?
     
  2. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    I live in a fairly small town (~25K people) which has it's own light and power department. They buy off the grid in bulk (I think is how its done) and have their own generators if needed. Price is on-par with utilities in surrounding towns (perhaps a bit cheaper actually), and the juice rarely goes away. In the 3 years I've been here, I can't remember not having power for more than a couple of hours (which happened during an ice storm).

    Not much of a datapoint for comparison, but hopefully helpful.

    -Steve
     
  3. RossTerry

    RossTerry Guest

    in Austin, i pay my electric bill to the City of Austin Utilities...

    no, real problems or concerns, prices seem ok
     
  4. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Considering the number of Brown outs we have, sounds great!
    Our rates have tripled in the last year too.
     
  5. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    My power company is owned by the city, and it's quite expensive compared to what other cities pay.

    However, much, if not all, of the price increase is treated as a tax and pooled with the collected property tax. As a consequence, property taxes in my city are quite a bit lower since they're being subsidized by the power company's revenue.

    So in my city, it's pretty much a wash if you're a homeowner, and you're pretty much screwed if you're a renter.
     
  6. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    The city I live in doesn't own its power utility, but it did invest in a steam cogen plant which sells its excess power to the power utility. And the city did own its gas utility. However the state deregulated gas a few years ago so now it's like long distance service, I'm not sure if the city still does gas service because my house is all-electric.
     
  7. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    grantb...out here in Modesto, the Modesto Irrigation District provides power. The rates are much cheaper (PG&E is near or at the top of the most expensive electricity rates I recall) and the power stays on so no complaints here.
    Local districts are much easier to deal with and I say that not only as a consumer but as someone who has to deal with them in my career.

    The thing is....MID is able to generate some of their own power because of reservoirs in the foothills in Eastern Stanislaus County, but how will the City of SF get power ?
    I imagine they will simply buy it from other places and re-sell it to you, the consumer. Might not be much cheaper.
     
  8. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    I was kind of confused by what you were asking but I can tell you for sure that SanFrancisco does NOT produce their own power or at least not enough to power the entire city. The power company whether city owned or not will need to get the power from local power plants or from the power grid from other states like Nevada (Hoover Dam) which is where a good portion of a lot of California’s cities get theirs.
    In the different cities I have lived I did not notice a significant difference in price between locally owned electric companies and regional/national ones since they all work on the same basic principle. Buy low and sell high. [​IMG]
    Either way the consumer will pay the price in the end. If the power they get happens to be at a great price then you will save some money on your power bill. If they are being pro-active and buy a lot of power at a certain price and power prices plummet then you will still pay the higher price since they need to recuperate the money they spent on the power.
    IMHO competition is your best bet. If you have a choice in your area of who you can get power from they will need to compete to get your business getting you the consumer better pricing.
    KyleS
     
  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  10. Jason Ly

    Jason Ly Agent

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    I moved to Belmont, a town that has it's own power company this year from a Somerville which is a couple of towns away, but has Nstar as it's power supplier. I did notice a drop in the old electric bill, not huge mind you but I did notice it.

    Also, I did not have a blackout this summer unlike both summers I lived under Nstar.

    Jason
     
  11. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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    Use to live in a really small town, Readsboro, VT, population >1000. Readsboro had an electrical co-op. Our rates were less that my friends from neighboring towns, but service was less. When power lines went down in an ice storm, the same guy had to first plow the roads and then get in the co-op's utility truck and come out to fix the lines.
     
  12. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    About 25 years ago when I lived in Idaho Falls, the city owned a bulb turbine generater. It was submerged in the river and not obtrusive and didn't require a dam. It has been a long time ago, but I believe rates were about 3.5 cents per Kwh. I lived just outside of town and was on Utah Plunder and Light - oops, a little typo - Utah Power and Light and paid about 6 cents a kwh, even that long ago. I had electric baseboard heat and you can imagine the winter power bills in a place with -20 degree winters.

    SF would be too big for a comparable generator, but maybe a little creative thought from the government could go into bringing on line low impact power sources. Oops, there I go again. Government and creative in the same sentence. A violation of both syntax and logic.
     
  13. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Actually San Francisco produces more power than just about anyone in the state. When our Senator (Feinstein) was 'our' mayor she shafted our city bigtime. San Francisco obtains all Power generated by Hetch Hetchy by means of an act of Congress in the early part of this century. Before she left she literally gave the all the power generated by hetch hetchy to PG &E and millions of dollars to boot just in case the city needed more than was generated (I know this does not make sense, the Board and everyone in the city government thought it was insane).
    One of the most worst moves ever....but she has always been backed by PG&E in all of her campains, for millions.
    Recently when it was up for a vote she actually wrote (On senate stationary)to the San Franciscians telling them it was a bad move to vote to buy it back.
    It would cause our rates to go up and worse (HAH!!! Brownouts ever 2 weeks in the summer!) service
    PG&E spent millions to have it defeated
    Funny on how I hear mostly postive stories from people who live in cities where it is a municipal power company
    Thanks everyone!
     
  14. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    In the province of Quebec, our main power company is Hydro Quebec. Because the vast majority of our power comes from huge hydroelectric dams, my monthly bill is actually quite reasonable. For my condo, the cost is about $50 per month spread out over an entire year including winter heating and the hot water tank rental.

    The rates haven't gone up since 1996 and will remain frozen until 2004. Blackouts are a rarity although we do suffer the occasional brief power drop. Hint: get an affordable UPS for your computer just in case.
     
  15. DwightK

    DwightK Second Unit

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    I currently live in Idaho Falls. Well 1 block from being in the city limits and partaking of the city own power. What Ashley said is all true except since he left the city's gemeration equipment has all been paid for and the rates dropped. After the californai fiasco there was a HUGE rate hike of like 40% in IF and the residents pay around 2.9 cents per kwh. Since I am a block away I'm on Scottish power/utah power and light/whatever they are called now and pay over 7 cents. Big difference but still not all that unreasonable compared to rates others pay around the country.
     
  16. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    hetch hetchy ! Correct me if I am wrong but that rolls off the foothills. Isnt it amazing how SF can claim its their power (and I am not disputing what you said) when this aqueduct begins in the sierras ?

    Its a testament to the relationship between water and politics (esp in Ca).

    GrantB, this probably means nothing to you, but a few years ago, people in the East Bay wanted to tax Valley commuters who use "their" freeways everyday. I know...makes no sense, but bear with me. It was a running joke out here in the valley, that sure, we'll pay more than you for the use of your roads, now let's talk about your power source.
     
  17. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Like I said, it was an act of Congress back when SF had more reps and the rest of the state combined.
    I never said it made sense or was fair. I lived in Stockton (That fits Hot & charmless) and Concord at times so Ive been on both sides of the 'issue".
    I am just curious on how real is the scare tatics they use.
    Seems to me by the very diverse and mostly postitive responses, they are inventing the whole negative stance.
     

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