In the case of City Light, the general lack of expertise and experience of past and present elected officials in dealing with the "real world", had precluded any new electrical generation from being built. Instead, they had perversely shed generation even as the City's load increased. This was demonstrated when the City gave up its right to raise Ross Dam, divested itself of the Lake Union Steam Plant, and sold its share in the Centralia Steam Plant. Just as we can readily understand our society cannot sustain itself without water and food, we can also understand our lifestyle and economy cannot sustain themselves without electricity.
Seattle's elected officials have misused, abused and misdirected the mission of Seattle City Light, which is to generate, transmit and distribute electric power to its citizens at the lowest cost. Essentially, City Light is and must remain a monopoly, as should every electric utility in the country - a concept California's deregulation debacle has underscored.
But, City Hall had already embraced "deregulation", as the now-concluded contract providing Seattle-based Nordstrom stores in California with electrical power shows. But, California's deregulation crisis intervened. Seattle backed off, thankful for suffering only a "near-miss" with disaster but not without having been blindsided. In typical character, Seattle's City Hall now blames a persistent cash-flow problem on Bonneville Power Administration's rates, California's deregulation, and the federal resistance to cap generation costs in California. All the while, it steadfastly refuses to accept any responsibility for its own mismanagement of the utility, which continues to maintain an untenable stand that conservation and rate increases are its only "solution" for the problem of its own making.
The California-style deregulation has apparently placed untold numbers of families, farms, and businesses on the brink of bankruptcy. As Mayor, I will propose the federal government revisit its precedent-setting 1935 principle which, at the time, made electricity available to the ninety percent of farms which had been "doing without." The federal government met that need when it created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which subsequently made low cost construction loans to private companies willing to construct electrical generation and transmission systems.
City Hall has appealed to the people of Seattle to conserve electricity and has attempted to convince us that alternative sources for generating power are "the only way to go." But, to date, those sources simply cannot provide the amount of power needed for the growing electrical load. Basing our future on such marginal systems is courting disaster.
As Mayor, I will consider purchasing power from generation using any fuel source, and any other proven technology used in other countries, as an essential need. I will also encourage other ways of conserving electricity, always remembering that they cannot generate a single watt of new power. Some examples of the three are listed below.
Generation from methane gas
Generation from Direct Current (DC)
Recommend instituting double daylight savings time
Encourage large industries to build dedicated "co-generators"
Encourage construction of housing using earth as insulation
Encourage generating plants be built closer to their loads