Probe finds 'artificial' shortages (Duh!)

This letter was written in response to the SF Chronicle article titled:

Probe finds 'artificial' shortages
Unneeded plant shutdowns drove up state
electricity prices, PUC chief says

by Chuck Squatriglia, Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, May 18, 2001

URL: <>

Chuck Squatriglia,

A few weeks back Diane Feinstein gave an alarmist prediction that electricity prices could go as high as $5 per kWh this summer. The statement prompted me to do a few calculations about what that price point is equivalent to if the power were generated by burning gasoline. My conclusion was that it would be as if we were paying over $42 per gallon for gasoline and burning it at 25% system efficiency for electricity. That is a crazy-high number! In your article today you said that the wholesale cost of electricity had reached $1900 per MWh ($1.9/kWh) and by the same calculations that translates to over $16 per gallon!

What the hell is wrong with the regulators that they are doing nothing about this robbery!

I have written a couple of letters to the editors about this stuff but so far none of them has seen the light of day. Copies of them can be found on my web site:


David Woolsey

P.S. I am attaching the MathPad document I used for the calculations. It is a plain text document that you can use to do similar calculations if you want. You can also use it to check mine. MathPad is freeware for the Mac.

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Page last modified Friday, May 18, 2001 6:49 PM
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