Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. -Martin Luther King Jr. In today's highly politically-charged environment, and with countless examples of corporate, and government waste and greed it's easy to understand why some people partake in resistive efforts, and in extreme cases taking political "pot shots" against many. SMUD is a customer-owned, public utility. We customers benefit not only from lower costs, but also much from the numerous ways that SMUD "gives back" to improve our community. Believe what you wish and espouse what you may. However, make no mistake about it that the competetive threat to SMUD is real. This threat has been increasing ever since AB 1890 (California Electric Utilty Deregulation) was first introduced in the late 1990's. At that time, the viabilty of SMUD's future existence and it's roughly 30 percent lower residential electricity costs were threatened. SMUD didn't advertise at that time, and laws prevented it. The ENRON scandal stalled it and caused the voting public and many lawmakers to question the move. In efforts to stave off the threat and to position themselves, many utilities diversified and split up factions of their business. We saw the creation of specific and separate entities such as power generation, power contracts, transmission, and distribution create even more fractured subentities. The bottom line is this all ended up in driving up consumer costs. Don't believe me? Let's see if this helps; A single residential customer kwh in the late 1990's was AND expected to slightly go lower in the approximately 3-4 cents range. Look at your bill to see today's cost. Thank you California Lawmakers, NOT! Some things were not broken. Utilities had to restucture rates to prevent competitors "cherry-picking." As an example, Commercial rates were reduced as they had been subsidizing "lower" Residential rates. Our costs further increased.
SMUD Annexed Folsom in the early 1980's. This was done with no increased costs. Once completed, reliabilty increased and energy costs were reduced nearly 30 percent, all ahead of schedule. Years later, SMUD was approached by 3 neighboring areas and asked to do the same for Davis, West Sac and Woodland. In fear of losing revenue, PG&E launched an expensive campaign full of deceit, half truths aimed at misleading, and at times "all out lies." They sought out Stan Atkinson, a long time trusted newscaster from Sacramento's recent past. He continued the misleading messages. Investigating reporting revealed he was paid approximately $500,000 for his participation. Those costs were later passed on to ratepayers. Unable to legally advertise against the lies, SMUD could only hold townhalls put on by company leaders. Voters, misled, voted "No." The three affected communities were prohibited to vote. A sad day for all except Stan and PG&E. This brings us to today and the real, continuing threats to SMUD and it's sevice territory, our community. As SMUD is cusomer-owned, the threat is truly against us yet most don't realize it. In a perfect world, I would rather SMUD only concentrate on generating purchasing/selling as needed), transmitting, and distributing power as cost would be as low as possible from a nonprofit company. In this perect world I am alright with SMUD participating in improving our community (research yourself as too many to list. Maybe I will start a thread later). With this narrow view point, I would be naive and thus foolish to not believe the threats are real. As such, and personally with over 30 years service to our community while working at SMUD I have the utmost confidence and trust in the conscientious and responsible decisions made and implemented. Including spending for naming rights, as on the surface it may seem frivolous. I would suggest everyone to get involved as much as time allows them. And finally, research the truths yourself. Don't be fooled, trolled or have your emotions played.