Anyone who lives on the North Coast should have been embarrassed by the six-hour Fourth of July electrical power failure at the Pacific Power substation in Seaside. Clatsop County is a remote island where Pacific Power (a major producer of electricity generated in Wyoming from coal) provides electrical service. The Pacific Power Clatsop service district is surrounded by public utility districts supplying electricity generated from reliable renewable sources in Tillamook and Clatskanie that result not only in lower consumer cost but significant reductions in greenhouse gas. Evidently the Seaside substation transformer failure was caused by a brazen red, white and blue balloon attack. Come on girls and guys, we need a better-designed utility infrastructure.
Millersburg Oregon, a small town in the Willamette Valley of 1,500 residents has — as of May 18 — completed its final business plan to break away from Pacific Power and form a municipal utility to reduce consumer costs. They found that there are currently 12 municipal utilities operating in Oregon, all of which have electric rates lower than Pacific Power.
Possibly if the Seaside City Council or the Clatsop County Commissioners could find the time, when they are not too busy regulating panhandlers and marijuana store locations, they might actually be able to do something to improve the lives of residents and visitors as well as the viability of businesses. Properly designed, a local electrical utility could use renewable energy and eliminate the three- to six-month electrical outage that is projected for our area by the state when the Cascadia Fault earthquake and tsunami occurs. It might also survive in the case of a balloon attack.