Representative Jeff Morris has “grave reservations” about a proposed Skagit PUD takeover of Puget Sound Energy’s Skagit operations.
Morris released a statement which says the cost of PUD taking over PSE’s Skagit operations “could be quite significant as there is little excess public power available from the Bonneville Power Administration that could be allocated for Skagit residents.”
Morris says that means Skagit PUD would be forced to shop on the open market for power, at a cost which he says would be greater to ratepayers. And, he adds “Extensive litigation over ownership of current PSE assets between customers staying with PSE and ratepayers of Skagit PUD would take years to resolve.”
Anacortes residents aren’t currently in the Skagit Public Utilities District, but presumably would be added if the PUD became an electricity utility.
Morris has not weighed in yet on whether he opposes a planned takeover of PSE by a private investment group consisting of investment bank Macquarie and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.
That takeover, now before the state Public Utility and Transportation Commission, has sparked great interest by people who now receive electricity and natural gas from PSE. Morris said, however, “It is still unclear whether ratepayers will benefit” from the proposed takeover.
Morris has introduced a bill in the legislature that would allow a member of the board of directors of a publicly-held corporation to consider more than just the benefit to shareholders. Directors would be able to consider the economic impact as well as community and societal considerations could also be taken into consideration when making decisions.
Morris said “Particularly with a utility, It shouldn't be only a question of whether something is in the best interest of shareholders financially but a question of everyone who is directly involved with the corporation's services or products. It would be unfair to the employees, customers, and the general community if their best long term interest was not considered as well.”
The bill did not reach the floor of the House, however.