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The Daily News of Los Angeles

FOR the past three months, conventional wisdom has been that Sacramento was spending $45 million a day to keep the lights on.

Now that much of the Southland has endured two straight days of rolling blackouts, that conventional wisdom has been turned on its head.

Sacramento has already burned through $4.2 billion on electricity for customers of the state’s three big private utilities.

Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale – all of which have their own municipal authorities – have been spared. But because of dillydallying by the Legislature and governor, elsewhere in the region, traffic lights have stopped working and homes have fallen dark.

Sacramento has not only failed to devise a workable solution to the state’s power crisis, it has yet to identify the problems.

For starters: Why, with taxpayers spending $45 million a day on electricity, are the state’s independent wind, biomass and solar generators not being paid? These co-generation providers claim that they have to hold back on power production because they can’t afford to do business with the big utilities, which aren’t paying their bills.

On Monday, half of these providers stopped generating a total of 3,000 megawatts of power – more than triple the 800-megawatt shortage that spurred the latest round of rolling blackouts.

Likewise, the lights would still be on everywhere – and at all times – if out-of-state generators weren’t closing down at more than three times their usual rate for maintenance and repairs.

What’s going on?

Some activists, such as the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, allege that out-of-state power generators are holding the state hostage by deliberately cutting back on production to drive up prices – and profits.

If the allegations are true, then they demand a swift response from Sacramento.

But so far, the Legislature and the governor have shown little interest in tackling any of the causes of the energy crisis, confident that if they just keep spending long enough, the problem will take care of itself.

They seem more concerned with managing the politics than solving the problems. Their conservation policy is a joke.

It’s not working. And it’s getting expensive. Enough is enough.

The critical months lie ahead and it’s beginning to look like a long, hot and dark summer for much of the state.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdoghttps://consumerwatchdog.org
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