Island Power fails at economics and civics | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

A recent letter to the Review suggested that Island Power will provide better response times to storm outages with local crews and work on reliability upgrades like under-grounding power lines and smart grid programs.

How will Island Power be more effective at under-grounding transmission lines? The community rejected PSE’s last attempt in 2011. Please see the following Review article for a memory refresh: http://www.bainbridgereview.com/news/pse-seeks-permit-to-bolster-reliability-50-trees-at-risk/

October’s most recent wind event created more than 20 simultaneous outages on Bainbridge. Many of them required multiple crews to repair. Last year we had a few events of even larger magnitude. Island Power’s claim that local crews will be more effective is unrealistic. PSE has the option of dispatching crews from all over the region to assist quickly in time of need. Unless Island Power is planning on keeping 30-plus crews on standby at all times, there is no way for them to provide equivalent, let alone better, response time.

I agree we may choose to invest in smart grid technology to better manage household loads, reducing usage. Island Power has no monopoly on smart grid programs. PSE has already engaged our community with pilot programs, some dating back to 2009. For example: https://www.metering.com/puget-sound-energy-to-undertake-smart-grid-enabled-demand-response-pilot-program/.

Rate hikes are always painful. Consider the shock Jefferson County residents are pondering: http://www.ptleader.com/news/pud-sets-nov-for-rate-hike-hearing/article_801eac08-9b06-11e6-ac0f-fbfa854512b5.html

Unfortunately the laws of economics do not work for Island Power. If our community is concerned about cleaner and more reliable electrical power, we should be engaging PSE to find better solutions to lower carbon sources and working through our own obstructionist issues.

I have learned how approachable, reasonable and receptive PSE executives have been to my requests to discuss these topics. If our community put the equivalent effort into working with PSE rather than re-inventing the wheel with Island Power we could accomplish something positive. Suggesting the only way to improve a complicated system is to throw it away, then put a bunch of inexperienced folks behind the wheel is naïve and irresponsible.

Island Power fatally damaged their mission and reputation by railroading their $100K, lopsided, taxpayer funded, consulting project through city council. Let’s focus on realistic and meaningful change and do what Island Power has never done and sit down with PSE and develop a mutually beneficial plan for the future.

ROBERT FRAIK

Bainbridge Island

More in Letters to the Editor

Let justice be done, starting in the House | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am writing to publicly thank Representative Derek Kilmer… Continue reading

Many reasons for opposition to hotel | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Regarding the proposed land use for the 80-plus-room hotel… Continue reading

Medicare for All is politically popular | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Medicare for All is overdue. While the current political… Continue reading

Plea for H-E-L-P from the Tweeter-in-Chief | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Like many others, when I first heard the tweet… Continue reading

Thank you Bainbridge for your great support | Letter to the editor

To the editor: On behalf of Housing Resources Bainbridge, we would like… Continue reading

Squeaky Wheels had more to say in letter | Letter to the editor

To the editor: The Review article on “Bainbridge council votes to seek… Continue reading

Sending them out through the ‘in’ door | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Trump doesn’t see people of color as Americans. He… Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren has it right on health care | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I was surprised to see the a lengthy takedown… Continue reading

Court martial could end our nightmare | Letter to the editor

To the editor: We didn’t need Trump’s tweet telling congresswomen of color… Continue reading

WSF should do more to help senior riders | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I spend about one-third of the year on Bainbridge.… Continue reading

Pledge for no road signs | Letter to the editor

I’m currently serving as a Bainbridge Island city councilmember and mayor, having… Continue reading

Federal tax credit is needed for renters | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I appreciated the letter from Sharon Gilpin “Housing crisis… Continue reading