Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Right idea, wrong time

By
From page A10 | February 09, 2014 |

The issue: Public power would be good for Davis, but we have too much on our plate

Revisiting a long-held community goal, the Davis City Council is looking at the feasibility of a public utility to provide electricity to residents. Last attempted with 2006’s Measures H and I, which would have allowed Yolo County to join Sacramento’s publicly owned SMUD, backers see opportunities for long-term savings, local accountability and greener production methods in public power.

THE MAIN obstacle is the usual one: PG&E, our current provider, is in no mood to give up customers, and not inclined to sell the infrastructure a public provider would have to buy. In 2006, the utility spent heavily to prevent an exodus and, while the measures passed in Davis, it was able to convince Sacramento voters to reject the union. Davis was back at Square One.

At this point, the council has spent $400,000 analyzing the possibilities, with $600,000 more earmarked from a wastewater fund. A report by economist Charles Cicchetti unsurprisingly found that a public utility could save $5 million to $9 million a year after paying $20 million for the physical infrastructure. Just as unsurprising, PG&E disputes the first figure and promises the second will be higher. Ultimately, state regulators or the courts would have to decide what all those power lines and transformers are worth.

City leaders are reluctant to discuss details, as they are in the very early stage of analysis. “All we’re doing now is methodically exploring the issue,” Mayor Joe Krovoza said. But if the past is anything to go by, a bruising fight lies ahead.

THE ENTERPRISE backed the measures in 2006, and the reasoning behind them is still sound. The investment is well worth it if it results in greater local control, lower prices and a reinvestment of the fees Davis ratepayers pay back into Davis.

But conditions have changed in seven years. Retiree pension and medical benefits costs are out of control. A recession has forced cuts to services and a drastically reduced city workforce. We have a massively expensive water project coming up, one whose rates are sure to be challenged at the ballot box, but will be hefty no matter what final form they take. Voters also will be asked to approve a sales tax in June to help close the budget deficit, as well as a parcel tax to fund roads and parks. If we ask taxpayers for too much, we may end up with nothing.

Put simply, now is not the time to take on another huge project. We have too much on our plate as it is. Perhaps if the long-hoped “innovation park” ever gets going and we start attracting high-tech businesses to town, the tax base will improve to the point where this is feasible. Or perhaps our economy will rebound enough to allow us the fiscal luxury of moving forward.

But for now, public power seems like a step too far.

Comments

comments

.

News

Red Cross honors community heroes

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Share your love (story) with us

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Winter produce available at Sutter market

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Donations to be distributed during homeless count

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Speaker will share computer security tips

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

 
Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Words and Music Festival events

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

 
Davis, Woodland are saving water

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

.

Forum

Family isn’t keen on relationship

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

 
 
Caring for the aging mouth

By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

We have the right to choose

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
We don’t have to suffer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

City helped immensely

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

 
From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD men take two tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

Thomas George Byrne

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8