The deregulation debate is heating up   

    It took more than 60 years to build one of the most reliable electric utility systems in the world, but it is only taking the greed of a few utility, marketing and industrial companies to cause it to deteriorate.

   Conservation pleas, service interruptions, brownouts and blackouts have been increasing as demand for electricity equals and, at times
exceeds supply.

    The push for deregulation is taking its toll on the availability and reliability of our electric service as companies make preparations for competition.  Consistently across the nation, maintenance programs    have been cut back or eliminated, the number of employees reduced, customer service centers closed, and plans to build more generation facilities put on hold.  As need is growing, less is being done to ensure reliable service.

    The deregulation debate is heating up with the weather.

    Those who are pushing for changes to the industry claim deregulation will solve the problems we are now experiencing, yet some of the states that have deregulated have endured some of the worst problems.

    Greed is rampant on the deregulated wholesale market as customers desperate to buy power are at the mercy of those who have it.  Power is available to the highest bidder when it is needed most.

    Providing power to residential customers for air conditioners is certainly not  as attractive as making millions on the wholesale market    in just a few hours.

    In business there are always winners and losers.  Unfortunately, with the electricity industry this can mean the difference between life and death as consumers try to keep cool.  But if you think its bad now,  just wait until deregulation is a reality.

Keith Querry
Business manager
Inter'l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 53
Kansas City

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