January 26, 2007

Deregulating the regulators?

This morning's Ithaca Journal confuses me a bit. I'm used to Democrats expressing their concerns when someone who's worked for a company with a bad attitude toward regulators is suddenly appointed to be a top regulator.

This morning the usual party roles are reversed - it's State Senate Republicans expressing their concern about NYSEG/Energy East lobbyist Angela Sparks-Beddoe, Governor Spitzer's choice to chair the Public Service Commission.

Compare and contrast:

Sen. Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, said that Energy East has waged a “public war” against the commission over electricity rates that “has a number of my colleagues concerned.”


"I've known Angela for a long time. She has the necessary skills and she's a hard worker," said Assembly Energy Committee Chairman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, Montgomery County.

When asked about NYSEG's clash with the commission, Tonko said, "It's fair to say they responded differently than other utilities to the dismantling of the industry in the Pakaki era. They were bold and she was part of that boldness. This brings a little more balance to the process."

Wow. "They were bold"?

(The Binghamton paper has a longer version of the article.)

The Journal's editorial explores a newly revealed $1.9 billion of "pork projects on steroids," marveling once again at the strange collusion between former Governor Pataki and the legislature on spending money without including the public in the conversation. They hope Governor Spitzer will live up to his word that those days are over.

Update: The Syracuse Post-Standard has an article on the appointment now as well. I don't find a whole lot in it to convince me that this appointment is a great thing, but this closing quote from Assemblyman Tonko is more along the lines of what I'd like to see than what I'm expecting to see:

"I think you'll see a much more aggressive and broader use of regulation," Tonko said. "The watchdog has been missing in the equation for a while now."

I'll admit to being puzzled why exactly the AARP is actively supporting Sparks-Beddoe as well.

Posted by simon at January 26, 2007 8:27 AM in
Note on photos