To the editor:
The Review reports on the cost for islanders to acquire the PSE electric system as found in the just released draft “Bainbridge Island Electric Utility Feasibility Study.” This document shows that what might appear to be a high price in fact would be a good business deal for Bainbridge Island. Buying out PSE is essentially a buy vs. rent decision.
The draft study shows that a fair and reasonable purchase price for PSE’s aging and failure-prone system is about half the amount that PSE has been bandying about. The study shows us that the purchase price may seem high but the “mortgage” payment will be less than continuing to rent the infrastructure.
Our PSE “landlord” has been ignoring the wishes of its tenants. PSE continues to deliver power from its carbon-based plants (coal and gas fuel). PSE raised rates without asking Bainbridge citizens 11 percent in December 2015.
This rate increase has cost islanders $2.4 million more for 2016. Kitsap County has more frequent and longer power outages than any other county PSE serves. Communities with public power have much better reliability.
The business case for public power appears to be very strong. Bainbridge could become a carbon-free energy island, joining Seattle and other carbon neutral communities.
The study also explores the governance options, PUD, cooperative, city managed or “board managed.” The best option is likely to be a “Bainbridge Electric Board” power system.
Public power is likely to be a very good deal for our community.