Vote NO on Constitutional Amendment 1, Appointed Public Regulation Commission Amendment
Besides the usual lineup of candidates on the November 3 ballot, there is “Constitutional Amendment 1.” This proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would phase out the Public Regulation Commission (PRC)’s elected officials and replace them with officials appointed by the governor.
Several glossy postcards arrived in voters’ mailboxes in August, touting the disadvantages of “professional politicians” and painting utility and energy company “experts” as the correct approach. The approach was smooth, non-specific, and boilerplate–almost as if the message were lifted from similar campaigns around the country seeking to take the “public” out of public regulation bodies. Current commissioners have been in tune with and responsive to public sentiment. It begs the question as to why we would want to replace these commissioners with unknowns representing industry interests and stockholder-owned utilities.
Let us not be fooled by a set of well-worded and slickly produced industry-sponsored messages that weave fancy tales that public utility decisions should be made by representatives of the utility companies. Is oversight by accountable citizens an old-fashioned notion? Let us remember that privatizing energy and utility regulation removes oversight and the public interest from the decision-making loop. Having industry regulate itself is just another case of the fox guarding the hen house.