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Posts Tagged ‘public interest

US power grid tests approved without public consent (costs and consequences)

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By Rosalind Peterson

July 31, 2011

http://newswithviews.com/Peterson/rosalindA.htm

On June 27, 2011, CBS News reported: “…A yearlong experiment with America’s electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast…” [1]   CBS News also reported that:  “…Tom O’Brian, who heads the time and frequency division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, expects widespread (unspecified) effects…” [1].

The CBS report did not specify who approved this test.  This test will begin without public consent, substantial public notice or public debate in mid-July 2011 [1].  This test could disrupt so many businesses, state and local governments, and other government agencies, that it could quickly become a National Security nightmare and a massive public headache.

“A lot of people are going to have things break and they’re not going to know why,” said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government…This will be an interesting experiment to see how dependent our timekeeping is on the power grid, Matsakis said. [1-2].

According to CBS News, “…The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), runs the nation’s interlocking web of transmission lines and power plants and they will be conducting the tests…” [1, 3].  Will this company be liable for appliance replacement and other costs associated with these tests?

The disruptions from these tests may have the following consequences according to various news reports:

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The Great American Giveaway

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excerpted from: The War Against the Republic: The Battle of Madison

Feb 24, 2011      By Richard (RJ) Eskow

Power Grab

At the risk of sounding disagreeable, it’s hard to find an “honest difference of opinion” on ideology that explains a paragraph like this one in Gov. Walker’s new bill, spotted by my eagle-eyed pal Mike Konczal: “… the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant …”

This allows the governor to bypass regulators and legislators and sell the state’s power plants, built with millions in taxpayer money to anybody he likes. This paragraph goes on to say that ” any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project.” The governor can give these plants away if he wants, and nobody can stop him.

Cui bono? Who could possibly benefit from giving the governor the ability to sell the state’s “heating, cooling, and power plants” (there are 32 of them), or “contract with a private entity” to operate them, without a bid process or any regulatory oversight?

Let’s see now: Wisconsin has nearly one million natural gas customers, so it would presumably be a company that “provides consulting, engineering, design, procurement, fabrication and construction services for the natural gas and gas processing industries worldwide” and has “been the general contractor on some of the largest natural gas plants built in the U.S.” And since there are a number of coal-fired plants on the state’s list, our corporation would need to be a “leading supplier of coal and related products typically used in industrial applications or to generate electricity.”

Those quotes were taken from the website of Koch Industries, the company whose owners are bankrolling a little-known group that’s behind initiatives like Walker’s budget proposal.

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