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Letter: Muni electric deserves unbiased analysis

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Your coverage of the drive for Cambridge to establish its own electrical power company ignored a big fat red flag: the report that claims to show it would be terribly costly was written by Camp, Dresser, McKee, a key player in the notoriously corrupt "energy services" industry, which would have every incentive and predisposition to overestimate the cost of establishing and operating a municipal utility, even if they weren't bought off by NSTAR by legal means such as hinting that future contracts might be contingent on the reports findings. They know where their bread is buttered.

    City Manager Bob Healey is not an idiot; one may safely assume that he hired them because he knew they'd come up with the "right" answer. This is outrageous. Private corporations love to bash government organizations, but the simple truth is that despite their many human shortcomings, government programs routinely prove more efficient than private industry in the wide range of areas where the profit motive and a tack of competition combine to work against the public's interest. Natural monopolies such as electrical generation and health insurance are perfect examples.

    Cushing Street