"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." Ralph Waldo Emerson © 2005 Gary B. Ackerman. All Rights Reserved. The
Burrito contains the personal views and food for thought of Gary Ackerman and does not reflect the views of any other person or organization.
Get ready for instant body scans at airport security. Really. It is being tested as we speak, or read, or whatever it is we do. See that man in the photo? That is what I call a travelin’ dude packing a pistol. He looks like the road warriors that often sit in the middle seat next to me on over-booked airline flights, and he knows where to put the heat. In fact, I wonder if he knows it is there? “Oh, is that where I put my plastic gun! I’ve been looking for weeks. Thanks, fellahs, for finding it for me.” We believe in open and transparent markets. Therefore, I propose that all CAISO market design documents should also be put through one of those beta-test scanners to see if there are any funny things going on. When I hear our grid operator announce something is going to be “open and transparent”, two things immediately occur: I grab my wallet to see if it is secure, and an alarm goes off at the HCWSTUN department at SCE headquarters in Rosemead. “Yeah, this is the HCWSTUN calling about an alarm we just received – red lights flashing and buzzers going off like we hit the damn jackpot in Vegas. What should we do?” Instructions from a corner office on the fourth floor go down to the HCWSTUN, and before you can say “just and reasonable,” an advice letter filing appears at the CPUC requesting immediate implementation of a new nonmarket mechanism to protect ratepayers. You think I’m kidding? We are currently engaged in a great debate regarding SCE’s general rates. It is a massive proceeding, and we are objecting to a minor little piece of it. The utility wants ratepayers to fork over $9 million a year for a Project Development Department (probably on the same floor as the HCWSTUN department) that would develop generating sites for utility owned projects. I wish all my developer friends had the same deal. They would have instant access to money for spec-ing new sites, preparing and filing CEC permits, air modeling … you name it. So, in our humble testimony, we said bull**it to this. If SCE wants to play the game, then they should do it at shareholder risk, not on the ratepayers’ back. Well, SCE took umbrage at the attack made by WPTF and many other parties, and replied in rebuttal testimony that, “The Commission Should Fund The Project Development Division And Protect Ratepayers From Additional Market Power Abuses”. I’m not making that up. They actually pay people to dream up these corny replies. Ratepayers should pay SCE to protect themselves from, from, from …. oh yeah, market power abuses by others. That’s worth of any amount of money. Make it a cool $9 million. Some of you know that I am a technology blunderbuss. Imagine my delight and surprise when I pierced the VOIP world this week. Utilizing Skype, I had an online conference call for free with several parties, one participating from Japan. How cool is that? The sound quality wavered between unbearably loud to barely audible. I never did figure out how to adjust the volume on the headset I was using with my computer. My feeling about the 1
maiden voyage on Skype was similar to when I dispatched my first e-mail message, about ten years ago. Or was it earlier? I forget. Anyway, I could hardly believe it worked. When can I throw away my cell phone and use a VOIP Blackberry? I’m ready now. The CPUC has been sitting on a number of important decisions, and us market types are getting anxious to see what it decides. There are two Petitions for Modification of the Long-Term Procurement Order by PG&E, a Petition for Modification by TURN on the Resource Adequacy decision, a clarification by IEP on the...