Letters to the Editor

Do we really need more of them? | Letters | Jan. 22

This is in direct response to Dee Dumont’s recent editorial (“Dependable power must be top priority,” Dec. 25).

After almost 50 years working in the engineering and business world, I’ve found out that good solutions can be achieved in more than one way.

Ms. Dumont evidently thinks that adding a fourth substation and more high-voltage transmission lines along Bainbridge Island roads is the only solution to our electrical needs. Let’s look at the facts:

Capacity: The Winslow area is now served by two 25 megawatt substations.

That total of 50 megawatts can easily be increased to 75 megawatts (a 50 percent increase) by adding another 25 megawatt transformer to either the Winslow or Murden Cove substation.

Evidently PSE anticipated this and left both space and a foundation for that purpose at the Murden Cove substation.

Reliability: PSE’s current high-voltage transmission line for Winslow is 99.95 percent reliable.

Using their own numbers, power is out only an average of four hours per year due to these lines.

Most outages are due to distribution lines, not transmission lines.

All power outages this fall and winter were due to distribution lines.

Health concerns: High-voltage transmission lines emit electromagnetic fields called EMF’s.

A recent study in England, called the Draper Report, found that children under the age of 15 whose birth address was within 200 meters (650 feet) of an overhead transmission line, had a 70 percent increased risk of leukemia.

It compared children who had cancer with a control group of 29,000 children without cancer.

The study concluded that there is a statistical link between EMF from power lines and leukemia.

I doubt if anyone thinks PSE is “evil.”

They have promoted the Demand Response Pilot Program and are working with Joe and Tammy Deets and Hilary Franz on the BI Energy Conservation Program.

And, it looks like they might even start trimming trees to keep limbs off their distribution lines.

But, they are sneaky. PSE had a “private” meeting with all current and potential Bainbridge Island City Council members prior to their “public” April 2009 community meeting.

They wanted to plant their “good guy” seed with these key political figures and convince them that another substation and power line was needed.

Ms. Dumont was at that meeting and, evidently, bought it “hook, line and insulator.”

PSE is an expert in getting its way and has “deep pockets” to accomplish this. PSE’s majority owner is an Australian company called The Macquarie Group and their main purpose in life is not necessarily supplying electricity to the Northwest, but is making money for stockholders.

PSE is our “only” source of electricity but is governed by the Washington State Utilities Commission.

PSE has already asked this commission for an annual 7.5 percent rate increase starting April 2010.

Lynn Long

Bainbridge Island

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