Executive Digest Commentary May REALLY USE THIS

Arizona’s new immigration law (SB 1070) has spurred much debate and heated discussion lately. Emotions and opinions on both sides of the issue are strong, and in some cases vicious. As an editor covering the electric utility industry, I wouldn’t have thought about covering immigration law in my commentary, at least not until May 18.

That’s the day Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce wrote a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in response to threats from the city of Los Angeles to economically boycott Arizona. The boycott, which was approved by the city council May 12, banned official city travel to Arizona and prohibited new city contracts with Arizona-based firms. The boycott was in response to the stringent new Arizona immigration law, which critics have said could lead to ethnic and racial profiling.

Pierce said in his letter to Villaraigosa, who supported the city council’s boycott, that 25 percent of Los Angeles’ power is generated in Arizona power plants.

“If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation,” Pierce wrote. “I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.”

Los Angeles owns 21 percent of the 2,250-MW, coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, which provides power to Los Angeles as well as areas of Nevada and Arizona. The 3,740-MW Palo Verde nuclear generating station 45 miles west of Phoenix also provides power to Los Angeles as well as other major cities in the area. The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water owns around 5 percent of the nuclear power plant.

Pierce closed the letter by saying “people of goodwill can disagree on the merits of SB 1070. A state-wide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.”

I feel confident saying that the Los Angeles city council will not take their resolution to the point of eliminating 25 percent of the city’s electricity supply just before summer. I question whether the group even thought about the city’s electricity supply when deciding an economic boycott of Arizona was a good idea.

California has been somewhat of a frontrunner when it comes to championing causes–mostly environmental–that cause upheaval in the electricity industry. California has had legislation for more than three decades that bans new nuclear plants construction, even though the state continues to use power from existing plants in and out of state. In 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission approved rules requiring all investor-owned utilities to make sure that the fossil fuel-based power they generate or purchase is at least as clean as that produced by the latest generation of natural gas-fired turbines. This regulation affected in-state generators and those in states that sell electricity to California. And recently, the state regulators adopted a policy requiring coastal power plants–including the state’s two nuclear power plants–to phase out the use of once-through cooling systems.
 
California’s power generation regulations have created challenges for the state’s utilities and power suppliers for many years; controversy about its electricity supply is nothing new. Electricity supply controversy created by an immigration law, however, is unique, even for California.
 
So far, I haven’t seen a response from the mayor and city council to Pierce’s letter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they downplay it and maybe even reconsider the extent of the boycott. I would.
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Executive Digest Commentary May REALLY USE THIS

Arizona’s new immigration law (SB 1070) has spurred much debate and heated discussion lately. Emotions and opinions on both sides of the issue are strong, and in some cases vicious. As an editor covering the electric utility industry, I wouldn’t have thought about covering immigration law in my commentary, at least not until May 18.

That’s the day Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce wrote a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in response to threats from the city of Los Angeles to economically boycott Arizona. The boycott, which was approved by the city council May 12, banned official city travel to Arizona and prohibited new city contracts with Arizona-based firms. The boycott was in response to the stringent new Arizona immigration law, which critics have said could lead to ethnic and racial profiling.

Pierce said in his letter to Villaraigosa, who supported the city council’s boycott, that 25 percent of Los Angeles’ power is generated in Arizona power plants.

“If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation,” Pierce wrote. “I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.”

Los Angeles owns 21 percent of the 2,250-MW, coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, which provides power to Los Angeles as well as areas of Nevada and Arizona. The 3,740-MW Palo Verde nuclear generating station 45 miles west of Phoenix also provides power to Los Angeles as well as other major cities in the area. The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water owns around 5 percent of the nuclear power plant.

Pierce closed the letter by saying “people of goodwill can disagree on the merits of SB 1070. A state-wide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.”

I feel confident saying that the Los Angeles city council will not take their resolution to the point of eliminating 25 percent of the city’s electricity supply just before summer. I question whether the group even thought about the city’s electricity supply when deciding an economic boycott of Arizona was a good idea.

California has been somewhat of a frontrunner when it comes to championing causes–mostly environmental–that cause upheaval in the electricity industry. California has had legislation for more than three decades that bans new nuclear plants construction, even though the state continues to use power from existing plants in and out of state. In 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission approved rules requiring all investor-owned utilities to make sure that the fossil fuel-based power they generate or purchase is at least as clean as that produced by the latest generation of natural gas-fired turbines. This regulation affected in-state generators and those in states that sell electricity to California. And recently, the state regulators adopted a policy requiring coastal power plants–including the state’s two nuclear power plants–to phase out the use of once-through cooling systems.
 
California’s power generation regulations have created challenges for the state’s utilities and power suppliers for many years; controversy about its electricity supply is nothing new. Electricity supply controversy created by an immigration law, however, is unique, even for California.
 
So far, I haven’t seen a response from the mayor and city council to Pierce’s letter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they downplay it and maybe even reconsider the extent of the boycott. I would.