Thursday, June 26, 2008

The CUC Blues
Creative power outages
Part of our disaffection with CUC in recent months is a simple lack of communication. Ever since Pam Mathis left we have been experiencing dismal and unimaginative reporting of errors, gaffs, natural causes and bugaboos that are associated with our frequent power outages. What we need is a new Public Information Officer over at CUC.

Now if I had that job you would read something like this in your morning paper: ALIENS LAND, sap power from feeder 7. Ufologists have gathered to touch the saucer shaped object in awe saying “See, We’ve been saying it for years!!” Power is expected to resume in the Marpi, San Roque and Tanapag areas as soon as repairs are made to the zirconian crystals aboard the craft. Captain Ffleebwoofzip, from Altair 4, apologized and said it was simply ‘common sense’ that we should allow him to use a little of our power to jump start the craft and get his spaceship going again. -- Now that kind of story would make us all feel better about the rotting meat in our powerless refrigerators.

The next day we could have something like this: TORNADO downs power lines in Chalan Kanoa – flying debris from Lil Knucklehead’s trailer house seen careening into Hopwood Junior High injuring several students and shutting down power in the southern part of the island when portions of his bowling ball and used condom collection crashed into local power transformers. Power will be coming back on in a day or two as cleanup of drivel and slime from the demolished trailer continues day and night. -- See, that beats the heck out of: “Engine #4’s radiator caused overheating and had to be repaired for the 29th time this week.”

Your aircon may still have melted down during the 12th outage of the day and your fax machine may still be smoking from the last power surge but by golly you wouldn’t you feel a lot better about it if the excuse had a little zip to it? Sure you would. So please CUC, get someone to fill that PIO spot, and make sure they use a little imagination in those press releases. I can be reached at 670-28-Crank. I’ll be glad to help.
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Try not to help so much
Let’s hope that Rep.Tina Sablan’s latest endeavor at public activism turns out better than her last one. Last time between petitions and law suits she and Cinta managed to force gerrymandering of voting districts to make government smaller, but forgot to do her homework. The result? Bigger government instead of smaller. Now, thanks to her direct intervention we have 20 congressional representatives for a diminishing population, instead of the 18 we had before she “helped” us. The cost to taxpayers is nearly a half Million a year in extra payments to supernumerary lawmakers, not to mention the redistricting costs and the added election costs incurred. On the other hand, she ran and got one of those extra congressional seats herself, so I guess all was not lost, at least from her standpoint.

Now she wants to “improve CUC” using a similar tactic. I’m not sure we can afford to have her help us anymore than she already has. This time she may be costing us millions and her interference may cause just the opposite of what she intends, again. Can you imagine the power outages getting more frequent and the costs escalating even more as a result of this round of meddling? Well can you imagine those extra two lawmakers sitting up there pontificating right now at your expense? They are.

A recent anti CUC rally held at the Multipurpose Center to gain support for Sablan’s demands is a case in point. While their 5 “demands” seem mostly reasonable except for an over reliance on the legislature, their methods to force the action they seek sound expensive and counterproductive. Notice also that a freshman member of congress wants congress to oversee CUC. Is this the same congress that has passed innumerable pieces of legislation “fixing’ CUC over the years? Now we are led to believe that it will all be better because a freshman congressperson with 6 whole months of experience will be writing the bill? Ridiculous.

The five “demands” (think Moses and stone tablets –1 broken): 1. That a competent, certified utility management specialist should be hired to run CUC. Spot on. The sooner we do it the sooner the pain will stop. 2. That legislative ‘oversight’ is necessary to make CUC successful and responsive. Ridiculous. The legislature has passed, unpassed, repealed, re- repealed and repassed uncountable bills about CUC for years. Results…nothing. 3. Privatization. Great idea. Been around for 2 decades. Simple to accomplish, if we keep the politicians out of the equation…all of them. Just put out a totally open bid request for someone to buy CUC outright. Then rely on a competent PUC to oversee and do watchdog duty over the successful bidder/buyer/owner/operator. 4. An Energy Summit where government types will decide what is best for us ornery citizens and make 200 page rule books explaining it to us. Probable farce. Possible incubator of some great new ideas. 5. Correct our water problems – easy, spend the effort on getting the power on 24/7 so the water pumps can operate full time, then put Diego Benevente back on the job as our Water Task Force guy. We seemed to be making progress during that period. Focus on the electric power first, then bring all the guns to bear on the water problem, not before.
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Can we make it worse? Yes
Of the methods suggested at a recent rally to attempt to force positive action on CUC the organizers, Cristina Sablan and Ed Probst, suggest a class action law suit and/or mass billing disputes as a way to ‘get the attention’ of the folks at CUC. Either or both will use personnel resources and cost CUC a lot of money. Lawsuits cost a lot of money, time and aggravation. Who do you suppose will pay for it? You will pay for it. Yes you will pay for those extra expenses as part of your power bill. Even if an award is won, someone has to pay that award. They will either tax you to get it or they will increase your power bill to get it. You will pay, not CUC, not the government, You will pay.

As for mass disputes where people frivolously refuse to pay their bills and cause CUC not to collect enough to pay for the fuel, who do you suppose will have to pay for that? Right again. You will pay, of course. This is 60’s flower power activism at its’ worst masquerading as sound policy. Hogwash. You will pay, and pay dearly for the feel-good BS spread by these 200 interlopers refusing to pay their bills. You will pay for their bill and yours too. Ready to cheer them on? Break out your wallet.

Their third method, a favorite of theirs a ala last December’s futility march, is a demonstration at capitol hill to expose the electric users, the legislature and the Administration to the idea that there is a problem with CUC that needs correcting. No kidding. Do they think that no one has noticed there is a problem? How quaint. How ridiculous. At least it will not cost us electric users anything more for them to pat themselves on the back as ‘public advocates’ and pretend to make a problem, already widely known, known. March away. March happily. Lets hope is does more good than the last debacle where we found those who will be thrown out of work and sent home by the Feds, marching to get them to do it. There is certainly nothing wrong with Departmental accountability and transparency (the favorite buzzword this season) but marching does not get you there. Plenty talk. Plenty self aggrandizement.
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Quote of the week:
Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses. Dale Carnegie (1888 – 1955)


dominic said...

So these generators are run by engines that spin dynamos to generate electricity right? Why don't we just take out the engines, replace them with stationary bicycles and some gear ratio magic and pay a team of cyclists to "run" the generators.

bigsoxfan said...

Allrighty then. I was in full ROFLMAO mood well before Lil's trailer exploded. Better than an MV news story or a DPS press release by far. Love todays, "near drowning" incident. I think I see EE's hand in that one. As for the CUC reforms. I'm not going there. Plenty of others will, I'm sure. As for the gerrymanding districts, they might have not been too far off, IF they can expand the pool of eligble voters beyond those who keep returning the same people on the basis of their abilities to provide tables and beer for B'ques. If there were twelve Tina's or even eight, we would be better off, but for now she's a lone voice in the wilderness. I admire her spunk, although I'll side with you on the less government (especially in its present incarnation). Aliens indeed. 'scuse me, I have to visit the head, before an unfortunate accident occurs and I drop my section of UB off the grid.