Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Brodsky's Bright Idea To Save NY More Than $2 Billion

Assemblyman Brodsky is never afraid to voice his opinion, especially when it comes to the best interests of his district. His latest outrage is directed at the producers of New York's power, electric power. Specifically the way that electricity is bid for is fundamentally flawed and biased for the suppliers, not the consumers. So Brodsky's suggestion (and hopefully a subsequent law) is to change the process to put the power, so to speak, in the people's hands.

From Press Connects:

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh, Tuesday introduced a bill that would abolish the way the price of electricity is currently set - known as "pay as bid" - and replace it with one where producers would be paid what they were willing to take.

The current system, Brodsky said, is "insane ... It is absurd, destructive and needs to be changed." He estimated changing it would save ratepayers about $2.2 billion a year.
Sounds good to me. Does that sound good to you? Well, not so much if you are a part of the industry that supplies that power. They have a few things to say about what Brodsky wants to do:

The head of an industry trade group, however, said the claims are wrong. Gavin Donohue of Independent Power Producers of New York says the system encourages cleaner generators of electricity such as wind or hydro power, which can profit from higher prices. Less efficient, greater polluting and older coal plants would profit less or not at all under the system, he said.
Of course, things worked just fine before we started deregulating the energy market. In fact, it worked a whole lot better because companies were more responsible to the people that they supplied power to. After deregulation we saw travesties like the Enron debacle and the interest in stockholders instead of the grid that has been falling apart (remember that blackout in 2003?). Brodsky's approach should be combined within a greater movement that puts power back into the hands of the people, from energy regulation to fiscal regulation and everything in between. Now if we can just find someone willing to take a strong position behind those ideals and enact them. Governor Paterson? Governor Cuom....well I guess that is still up for debate, but in the meantime, big props to Assemblyman Brodsky.