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What Power Surplus?

September 27, 1987

The Times' Sept. 7 article on California's alleged oversupply of electrical generating capacity was disturbing ("State's Utilities Suffer a Costly Power Surplus; Customers Pay").

The article's headline, lead and first several paragraphs were devoted to an unquestioning and biased acceptance of arguments offered by Southern California Edison and the California Energy Commission that there is a costly oversupply of generating capacity caused by independent energy producers.

The Times' treatment lends credibility to these arguments by their placement early in the article and by the use of loaded words when describing arguments not attributed to either the commission or Southern California Edison.

Buried in the body of the article is the "contention" by the independent power industry that there indeed may be no oversupply at all, or that if there is some oversupply it may be due to the utilities themselves.

The article also doesn't mention testimony by the Public Utility Commission's public staff division--those specifically charged with protecting ratepayer interests--and their assessment that there is little oversupply at best, and what there is can be attributed to the utilities' construction of large, very expensive nuclear power plants.

Nor is there any mention of additional federal government testimony which further supports the view of the wind industry that the hearings--and SCE's successful publicity campaign--is an effort to stamp out competition from alternative energy.

The "particularly onerous" contracts referred to in the article--contracts to buy power from 409 independent providers of electricity--were intended to prevent just such backsliding from competition as SCE is advocating.

PAUL GIPE

West Coast Representative

American Wind Energy Assn.

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