FRED HARRIS IP for PRESIDENT TEXAS CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE iii , \\i HIs of it. But San Antonio and Austin are municipal systems, supposedly not bound by such needs. Speculation the second: the Parkinson’s Law theory. Municipal power companies are also bureaucracies, and obey the wellknown dictum that bureaucracy expands without relation to need, in response to desired increases of power, prestige, and budget. The more capital invested, the greater the justification for bigger salaries for CPS’ top executives. Trouble is, if CPS wanted to do this, they could choose to invest in the development of solar electric generation, which will require very large capital investment indeed, and make them heroes to posterity into the bargain, by reducing future fuel expenditures and pollution to zero. Speculation the third: the Sting theory. It’s all really a dark plot by the two investor-owned utilities to con the two municipal partnersSan Antonio and Austininto an old, old utility scam called Make ‘Em Go Broke, Then Buy ‘Em Out. In olden times, investor-owned utilities did this by stringing parallel distribution lines and selling electricity at a loss to steal customers, while refusing to sell the hapless municipal system any. At Bay City, so this theory runs, the game is to get San Antonio and Austin hooked with the promise of Free Lunch, then gradually raise the antenot difficult; the original project cost of $900 million is already $1,400 million high, and risin’ thereby forcing the municipals to raise electric rates in proportion to their shares, while customers’ use drops and revenues plummet. Then, when the city systems bankrupt, make a generous offer, take over, and reduce rates to build up the load again. A sub-plot has the Lower Colorado River Authority lurking on the side, waiting for one of the municipals to fold in order to take its place at the table without having to sit through the initial round of raises. Unfortunately, to believe this theory you have to also believe that the San Antonio City Council, the Austin City Council, and their respective municipal utility boards of trustees are all ignoramuses, no kind of business people, and asleep. Speculation the fourth: the most likely hypothesis. The whole affair is just another example of the energy management crisis, in which well-intentioned people charged with making big decisions about the uncertain future suffer from both a failure of imagination and a failure of nerve. They keep on projecting the same rate of growth in electric power demand in a service area where there is evidence that conservation has had and will have a significant influence on load. They accept figures offered by utility officials from other parts of the country, where entirely different conditions prevail, as though these conditions were native ones. They accept the opinions of Dr. Teller as gospel, in spite of his bias induced by a lifelong commitment to finding something decent to do with a deadly technology which has not yet conclusively demonstrated either net efficiency or safety. He may be, as Dr. Robert West, Jr., introduced him “a living legend” but even living legends can be wrong. Most of all, they put their trust in shortterm trends.. In the short runvery shorturanium, to be sure, is cheaper. And in the long run, we are all dead. But somewhere in between lies the Land of No Free Lunch, where, if we regard our predicament as an opportunity rather than a bitter pill, we just might come up with something better than anything dull hindsight can suggest. Or, to quote again the quotable Dr. Teller, though possibly in a sense he did not intend: “The real riches of our nation are in new ideas, which need intelligence and discrimination to develop and mature.” April 9, 1976 7 But, Mr. Candidate, How Would You Deal With Inflation? Energy Policy? Health Care? If you could ask a presidential candidate one question, what would it be? Many people feel that presidential campaigns do not deal with issues important to THEM. Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen’s lobby, would like to help you get your message across to the candidates. Here’s your chance to steer a campaign in a direction important to YOU. Fill in the space below with your question return it to Common Cause. We’ll compile the questions, and present the most-asked ones to the candidates in April and release their answers to the public. My question is Citao Au tsdto , Return to Common Cause of Texas, 1405 Lavaca, Austin, Texas 78701 ******************************************************* If you would like to receive the results of this poll, please fill in your name and address: Name Address City Zip
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