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Your Views: Nation's power system leaves us vulnerable

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April 16, 2014

A while back, I wrote that I've grown tired of the shameful charade that our legislators would like us to believe is "government.” Here's an example.

The vulnerability of our electrical generation and distribution system is finally receiving attention after publicity about sabotage about a year ago to a PGE substation near San Jose, Calif. In the 1970s, the Civil Defense arm of the Pentagon commissioned a study of the vulnerability of our energy systems. It resulted in a book titled “Brittle Power” in 1981. It brought a few changes, but Congress seems to have forgotten about it. Nevertheless, it is as significant today as it was in 1981.

It has become apparent that our electrical generating and distribution system has been built more to satisfy the greed and ego of professional engineers and administrators, and of groups that already have more money than they need, than to guarantee the availability of power under whatever conditions may arise. Utilities originally were designed to operate as “controlled monopolies” with profits limited to fixed percentages of capital investment. They egregiously overestimated the need for generating capacity to increase their profits.

It seems obvious that the most secure system would be groups of small, independent units as opposed to a large system with only one main central generating unit. I am old enough to recall when my hometown had its own generator and the arguments that occurred about the wisdom of selling it out to a larger system.

CHARLES LEMKE

Fort Atkinson



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