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Utilities' Deregulation Will Leave Customers in Dark

June 01, 1997

As described in "Overtaken by Current Events" (May 20), the California Public Utilities Commission and PUCs in many other states will deregulate their electric utilities. The result of this deregulation will be a slugfest among utilities for customers.

In order for utilities to compete in this new world of deregulation, they must buy and sell cheap power. You, the customer, will seek out the cheaper rates. Cheaper will not always be better. Dependable is better.

To reduce rates, utilities will need to lay off workers, cut corners, reduce maintenance, cut off the replacement of aging and outdated generators, transmission lines and equipment.

Utilities will reduce dividends. This means investors will seek more lucrative investments elsewhere. The customer will be left out in the cold. For utilities, it will be a dog-eat-dog and dog-chasing-its-tail situation.

Our present efficient, first-class utilities will become dinosaurs. A monument of the powerful PUCs.

Oh, power will be cheaper, when you can get it. Maybe some power will come from foreign lands. Power outages, blackouts and brownouts will be common.

Can we stop this rape of our utilities? No! We must prepare ourselves now.

The PUCs have put the wheels in motion. If you have investments in utilities, they should be investigated carefully. Buy an electric generator. It will only be a matter of time before some utilities (like airlines) will go belly-up. Will it be yours? Some are in trouble now.

AT&T was a communication monopoly until the Supreme Court decided it wasn't good for you and decided to break it up. You know what happened. Continuing chaos and confusion.

Sometimes monopolies are good. Don't tell that to our PUCs. They know better. Who will we blame when chaos sets in?

EMMETT SCHOEBERL

Agoura Hills

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