Chuck Eaton For Public Service Commission

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Chuck Eaton finds himself at the end of his first term on Georgia’s Public Service Commission with not one but two challengers.  Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer and Libertarian Brad Ploeger are each contesting the race.  Eaton, however, has earned another term on the Commission.

As I wrote when giving him the nod in his primary race this summer, “One of Chuck Eaton’s strong points is that he is intellectually curious.  He is a person who is willing to admit he doesn’t have all of the answers, and solicits opinions regularly on topics that interest him.  This is not to say he doesn’t understand the issues – Far from it.

“He has a keen grasp on the various risks associated with coal as the EPA continues to push coal powered electric plants toward extinction.  He understands that while natural gas prices are at historic lows right now, the history of the fuel is one of price volatility which could lead to wide variances in power costs.  He understands that nuclear is cheap once the power plants are operational, but getting a plant built after 30 years since the last plant was built will present unique challenges.

“Eaton prefers a balanced approach, with Georgia not putting all eggs in one basket.  He’s generally pragmatic about the needs of the state, and balances the needs of Georgians with the requirements that those the PSC regulates are entitled to earn a profit as defined in state law.

“While not someone I always agree with, Eaton is someone who can explain and is willing to defend his positions based on fact and underlying law.  That’s a rarity in politics.”

I stand by all of that, and for that he remains my choice.

His challengers do not rise to the level of seriousness required for the position that is ignored by too many Georgia voters.  Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer’s candidacy seems to be as much about trying to establish a Democratic foothold in a down ballot race as it is about the Public Service Commission.  His answer in Sunday’s Atlanta Press Club debate regarding President Obama’s EPA regs requiring three GA Power coal plants to be shuttered was partisan enough that he quite literally blamed George Bush.  He also appears quite hostile to nuclear power which represents the near term future for Georgia’s electric needs.

Libertarian Brad Ploeger’s candidacy appears inspired by typical ideological fare and should not be confused with that District 5 Libertarian candidate David Staples who has also earned my vote.  Ploeger admitted in the Sunday debate that he has never attended a PSC meeting and finds the documents relating to the job posted on the PSC’s website too hard to find.  He noted that his job does not accommodate observing daytime meetings at the PSC.  For someone asking the citizens of Georgia to invest a 6 year term to his responsibility for a position that pays over six figures, perhaps he should have invested a sick day to attend at least one.

Those looking to send a message for change would best vote against the incumbent in the District 5 race.  For someone who attends meetings, asks relevant questions of all parties involved, and even occasionally votes against the stated wishes/demands of the large utility providers, voters will do well sticking with Chuck Eaton.

For this election, as in the primary, Chuck Eaton gets my vote for the Public Service Commission.

12 comments

  1. vote no tsplost says:

    The heck with Eaton. he gives me a robo call, claiming credit for doing away with the energy tax on business, does not take credit for the tax loss offset, by increasing taxes on the voters, we can thank him for, among other things a tax of private sale of cars. PLEASE VOTE NO!!

  2. seekingtounderstand says:

    Dear Mr. Eaton: If you are reading this please note that the thousands of Georgians need your help as they deal with Buford Gas. Buford Gas abuses its control of natural gas lines and has a monopoly. They charge and keep forever a $300 deposit unless you move. Their customer base charge is high. They make over 40% profit and are building buildings that look like Donald Trump built them. If your a GA resident, its worth a trip to go see the extravagance of Buford City. They take from other poor counties from which they profit.
    So scream all you want about GA Power at least there is some control, having a local political group gouging stuck customers is just as horrible.
    I have been to the PSC with a group and asked Mr. Eaton to help or maybe he just doesn’t care about the unwashed little guy. No system is perfect but these monopoly utilities run by mean spirited local politicans building mouments to themselves is just as bad………….or worse. Stan Wise actually helped us and gave Buford Gas a deadline to change! December 2012. We shall see.

      • seekingtounderstand says:

        Not much, but our elected officals suggested this is the way to go and then they can bring up a bill. We have been fighting for years and years. Stan Wise was the first to offer to help us.
        What I want people to know is that you can complain all you want about the PSC, but to have a local government gouge you at will with a monopoly and then flaunt it with excessive spending while your poor county can’t afford squat is a horrible system. Be thankful you have a choice with natural gas.
        And if you attend a PSC meeting even a casual one, its off the charts stressful. A large room full of lawyers ready to shred you to pieces……………scary place and the PSC earn ever penny we pay them. Very, very hard job. Folks just do not have a clue.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Recipe for local change:

      1/2 cup of Angry Mob
      1/2 cup of pitchforks
      5 gallons of tar
      Mix at the county courthouse or city hall, heat, and let simmer for 30 minutes
      Serves approximately one town or county

      Oh, and never forget to cook with love. It’s the most important ingredient.

      • Calypso says:

        You’re using way too much tar. It will come out much too gummy. I always like to add two whellbarrows full of feathers as well. Duck, chicken, it doesn’t matter, whatever you happen to have on hand is fine.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          It’s got to be chicken feathers given Buford’s proximity to Hall County, the self-proclaimed chicken capitol of the world.

          • Calypso says:

            Ah, yes, I should have taken into account the latest trend of locally produced items for a “farm fresh to table” experience. You can always get a couple bucks more per plate when you tout that.

  3. Dave Bearse says:

    On a more serious note, I respect that Eaton has commented on PP. His comments have on a couple of occasions influenced my opinions of utility regulation.

Comments are closed.