29 October 2007

Security Solutions - Part 2

Following Part 1, comes Part 2 (You're welcome, statehooders.)

Privatize both utilities: In terms of electricity and water, Puerto Rico has long teetered on the brink of disaster. Our water pipes are 50 years behind the current demand, the current Sewage-headed Authority in charge of it plays monkey-butt with "estimated" water bills and the government keeps allowing this decrepit slug to give away water, both legally (subsidies) and illegally. (The other decrepit slug gives away electricity. Huzzah!)

So it's time to privatize the right way. And the right way doesn't mean "Protect the vegetables in their cushy jobs," it means "Transform the system from chaos to order."

Here's how:

1) Place both utilities "on the market" so that private companies can present their plans and bids.

2) The government establishes the objectives and expected results for the duration of the initial 5-year contract. These objectives DO NOT include "job protection," "minimum employee retention" or any some-such crap. A smart business is run with the people needed: Let the winning bidder establish its operational team.

3) The winning bidder takes over the utility and is on the clock. The company starts its transformation plan and the government clears the way. The "stick" to keep the utility in line is the loss of the contract if objectives aren't met. The "stick" only works if the government clears the way properly. (To the Fools: You can control the utility better by targeting long-term profit potential than you can by shoving useless employees down their throats. Ask Verizon.)

4) The government has oversight powers on rate changes, in its role as protector of the citizenry. (Excuse Me: I just cackled a tear here.) Rate changes must be tied into completed infrastructure changes.

5) If the company falls short of objectives, it incurs a fine equal to the transition cost for another company to take over. If objectives are met, the company receives another 5-year contract, or a longer one that voters decide on. That's right, I said voters, the people who pay the bills. The Fools will quickly try to arrange for a long-term butt-buddy deal; there's no stopping that. With this system, the company must do its job right. If they want to stick around for more than 5 years, it's not the Fools who decide.

Sub-clause solution: Establish two new energy plants: This can be a stand-alone measure, but as part of a utility revamp, it's absolutely necessary. Let's cut to the chase: These plants need to be established, by fiat, use of eminent domain or simple fait accompli machinations. What I'm saying here is that the government needs to make this happen without regard to the knee-jerk "not in My backyard" reactions it will engender.

With over 1,000 persons on average per square mile and more along the coastal regions, there is no way a new energy plant can be placed on this island if We let tiny groups sway decisions against it. This tyranny-by-minorities is arguably acceptable when it comes to a tourist resort, but it no longer has a place when the economic and security potential of Puerto Rico is so compromised by an overburdened, outdated and collapsing infrastructure.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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