Prometheus paid dearly when he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man, but his courage paid off. Fire now belongs to the people. So should electricity, says New York state Judge Joseph Harris, of Albany, who ruled last fall that state regulators could force open New York's electric industry, but warned against hidden favoritism:
"Prometheus," wrote Harris, "in breaking the monopoly of the gods and by giving electrical energy to mankind ... [should] not be demeaned by a mere transfer of that monopoly to the lords of industry. It was a gift to mankind, not a gift to a favored few." (See, Docket No. 5830-96, Nov. 25, 1996, Supreme Ct., Albany County, affirming N.Y. PSC Opinion No. 96-12.)
Turn now to Alabama, to a suit filed January 27 to challenge a state law enacted last spring. The plaintiffs say the law is unconstitutional (em that it will block meaningful electric competition.
Where is the metaphor, you ask? Alas, it is not Prometheus, but Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge, whose statue stands high above Birmingham on Red Mountain (em the second-tallest in the country and the tallest cast-iron statue in the world. Even so, this story claims enough characters to rival the classical myths.
"This is the worst, most anti-choice legislation that's out there."