Some folk have written to support Chris Thomas or his opponent for PUD Commissioner with the reason, “keeping power cheap or inexpensive.”
I am supporting Chris Thomas, but not for that reason. Nothing in Public Power should be misconstrued to be “cheap” or “inexpensive.” Grays Harbor PUD pays its employees very well. And they should. It may be “cheaper” or more “inexpensive” to race to the bottom and try to get employees to work for less and less and get fewer and fewer benefits. But, that is not what Public Power is about. And, Chris Thomas knows it.
It would be “cheaper” or more “inexpensive” to delay or minimize maintenance. Some “for-profit” utilities have done this to disastrous results. For that matter, a few public utilities have done that as well to equally disastrous results. I support continued high maintenance levels for increased reliability to our customers. All I’ve read and heard suggests Chris Thomas does as well.
We could probably have “cheaper” or more “inexpensive” rates if we did less and less for our community; for instance, helping a school district install new stadium lights on poles by sending a couple crew members and a bucket truck at no cost. But, our “public” utility serves all of us and is owned by all of us and works to make life better for all of us, including our county’s students and fans. Chris Thomas indicates he understand this.
We could, at least temporarily, have “cheaper” or more “inexpensive” rates if we didn’t spend precious dollars on attorneys to fight cases in the federal court. But, “temporarily” is a word with meaning. We spent a lot of money on lawsuits and then received dollars on dimes in return as BPA lost in the 9th Circuit for the very first time. Chris Thomas knows we have to continually fight to protect the “public” in Public Power.
In looking at this race, I am impressed with Chris Thomas and welcome these fresh eyes and this proven analytical mind looking at the important issues facing “Our PUD.” I am not looking for someone who will provide me with the “cheapest” rates, or the least “expensive” rates. I am looking for someone who will ensure the most reliable power, with the best trained employees providing the best service, making the soundest financial decisions and investing our resources in the most pragmatic and efficient manner all the while standing up to the special interests, whether they be large federal utilities or local businesses, individuals, or even unions if they are advocating something contrary to the best interests of We, the ratepayers.
Chris Thomas has proven to me that he is the person for the job and has earned my vote.