Always with the questions already...

The Tribune had a piece this morning about Deb Kottel's bill to make us captives of the City's utility.

The piece raises a number of interesting issues, but he part that really caught my eye was this:

Cheryl Patton, head of the Great Falls Housing Authority, said that group saved $33,000 over two years by purchasing electricity from the city rather than NorthWestern Energy. That allowed the Housing Authority to better maintain the 506 apartments it rents to low-income, elderly and people with disabilities, she said.
Now, you will recall that the City and SME have entered into a Water Service Agreement that provides that the City of Great Falls will trade its water to SME for a reduction in the price of power it receives from SME.

I am wondering, then, just what we are talking about with this $33,000.00. When this $33,000.00 was "saved," did the City of Great Falls incur a corresponding $33,000.00 water debt back to SME?

If so, wouldn't it be a little bit disingenuous to suggest to the Committee considering this bill that the City of Great Falls can offer these incredible rates when, in fact, the rates weren't so great after all, but were merely reduced by an 'off the books' transaction?

One other thing. Representative Kottel denied any relationship to the Highwood Generating Station:
"It is not about Great Falls. It is not about any governmental entity in the state of Montana. It is not about a particular source of energy," insisted Kottel.

Ok, I'll buy that. The fact that a Great Falls Legislator introduced a bill that seems to be exactly what the City of Great Falls wants with respect to a pending project in which we have already invested millions, well, that fact is just a coincidence.

But let's assume for a minute that it isn't. Let's assume for a minute that Rep. Kottel is in fact carrying the bill for the City of Great Falls because, as our Mayor, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager all testified, the City wants this to pass. Assuming that to be true, doesn't it raise one important question?

If the Highwood Generating Station is dependent on captive customers for its financial viability, why don't they tell us captive customers? Why is this secret? Wouldn't it be better to be forthright and then persuade us why it is a good thing, than to say that this pending bill has nothing to do with HGS?


WolfPack said...

Doesn't it really bother you that they don't respect us enough to at least make up a good lie.

Anonymous said...

Please say out loud that we must be permitted to vote on the city's involvement. I have no idea how the vote will come out but I know democracy will be the winner.
Show up at a City Commission meeting and ask our elected officials when they knew that the plant was going to be right on the National Historic landmark. Did they know this when they were telling us that losing $500,000 plus dollars on the L&C Signature Event was good because folks would visit again? Can we invite them back for a "Last Chance Event" Something along the lines of , "You saw it once. You will never see it again after construction of the coal plant begins."