Friday, June 02, 2006

Why Haven't the Republicans Called for Schissler's Head?

Here's a question to which I've not found any good answer. So, fill me in if you know.

Democrats have been all over PSC Chairman Ken Schissler, and his three Republican buddies, for approving this 72% rate increase. Republicans have generally been hemming, hawing, or making general pronouncements that rates reflect the market. Few have given a specific justification that THIS 72% increase is good. Schissler has been defended as a good guy.

But why AREN'T Republicans all over Schissler about this?

Seems to me that the PSC had a number of options on the table, before them, such as:
1. Phase in a number of small rate increases over several years so that there is no one enormous increase all at once.

2. Announce well in advance that a 72% increase is coming, but that the PSC "fought" for consumers by holding it off as long as possible.

3. Approve an enormous increase to go into effect during the Governor's re-election campaign, and tell no one until the political season begins, so that it comes as a complete surprise to everyone and creates a furor.
It is not obvious to me that #3 is at all a sensible approach, if you are an ambitious Repub. What were these guys thinking?

Now, pretend you are the head of Constellation, or BGE, or whomever. Which of these options makes the most sense? Gentle, with warning, or suddenly piss off customers, scare the markets, get the legislature sniffing around your door, and endanger your merger? Why would BGE want to accept this third approach?

What's going on here? Assume that BGE simply wants to suck up profits, and the Repubs want to enable profit sucking. Is not this surprise election-year 72% increase STILL a moronic way to go about things?


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