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Deregulation Put Power Into the Wrong Hands

August 18, 2003

With any luck, the East Coast blackout will prove to have done more than cut the power to 50 million consumers for a few days (Aug. 15). It may shed light on the foolishness of the dogmatic pursuit of deregulation.

Essential utilities such as water, power and sewage treatment should be run by quasi-public companies only, not by for-profit public corporations. Why? Because corporations are there to serve the narrow interests of their stockholders (who love the cuts in services and investments that boost the stock price). Public utilities are there to serve the interest of the population at large. I'm willing to bet that when the economic effects of the power outage are added up, it'll make the cost of updating the system seem puny.

Chris Grove

Eagle Rock

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I learned from the East Coast blackout that there are three power grids in the U.S.: the Western grid, the Eastern grid and the Texas grid. I find it very interesting that Texas, with all its big power interests -- the same companies that forced deregulation on us, and then manipulated power supplies and pricing -- will never have to worry about power because it's on its own grid.

Mark Kummrow

Santa Monica

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