Friday, October 24, 2014
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

 
A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Features

.

Arts

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3