Lately I'm reading up on the new Telecommunications Act. Last week I printed a copy from the Internet and stuffed it in my briefcase. Each night on the train I give it a go and skim a few sections...
To the discomfort of my predilections, I cannot deny that which is just.
In the June 1 issue of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, Ken Rose ("Securitization of Uneconomic Costs: Whom Does It Secure?" p. 32) unleashed an assault upon the currently popular notion that utility generating assets and power purchase liabilities undertaken in an era of monopolies, and likely to be uneconomic in emerging competitive markets, should be " securitized." The charges raised, while ostensibly aimed at the advertised target (em securitization (em are actually a quarrel with the notion that stranded assets and liabilities should be recoverable. In the course of expressing these views, Rose debunks the existence of a " regulatory compact" and implants in the reader a bias for avoiding ratepayer liability for " poor investments." Then comes the serious charge that: Any legislation that complies with the ambition of the utilities to achieve securitization would " forever shield rates from market or regulatory scrutiny."
The article, taken as a whole, appears intended to cause any state legislator to view securitization as a betrayal of the public interest.
Within a week after the article appeared, I was contacted by the Edison Electric Institute and asked if I would consider writing a reply. Upon reflection, I was confronted by an apparent incongruity. After all, the restructuring order with which I am identified had been developed using a record which never mentioned securitization, and I can remember being troubled by the political process (em or lack of process (em that brought forth the idea in California. As a retired schoolteacher, I found myself involuntarily searching for an analogy. I found one.
In 1770, British troops were confronted by a howling Boston mob enraged by the Townshend Acts. At some point, they lost their composure and fired into that mass of humanity. Lives were lost and, in Massachusetts, there was a demand that five of the troops be tried for murder. To whom did their commander turn for a defense counsel? He settled on John Adams a former schoolteacher turned lawyer who, along with his cousin, Samuel, was identified as a leader of the anti-British cause. To the consternation of many of his compatriots in what was then a "home rule" rather than an independence cause, Adams accepted. Sam Adams was not amused. He demanded an explanation and here is the gist of what he got by way of a reply: John Adams freely admitted that he lacked sympathy for the presence of a British army in the city of Boston and affirmed his belief that the taxation measures being pressed on the colony violated the rights of the citizenry as British subjects. But the accusation was murder and, to his mind, the facts surrounding the incident did not square with the charge.
It has been decades since a Dominican nun recounted the history in a fifth grade civics class and I was surely not one of her better students. But I remember her account of John's reply to Samuel: "Facts are stubborn things and, from time to time, they get in the