MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 2, 2013

Be careful considering privatization


— Private companies are driven by making profit.

That’s what makes the world of free enterprise go round.

That’s also the danger of moving government services to the private sector.

And that’s the danger we see if the state decides to give the Grand River Dam Authority’s responsibilities to a private company.

That’s a possibility given that Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered a task force to review the GRDA.

Fallin wants to make sure that the authority is being operated efficiently.

But she — or at least one of her spokespeople — won’t stop short of saying the idea of privatizing the GRDA is moot.

The GRDA provides electricity for many in our area, including residents of Wagoner and Tahlequah.

The GRDA sells electricity to those cities and others.  The cities re-sell the electricity to residents.

Those cities receive income and the citizens receive electricity at a reasonable rate.

The fear of privatizing the GRDA is the loss of revenue for towns such as Wagoner and the almost sure increase in rates to citizens.

The governor’s task force looking under the hood of the GRDA is arguably a good thing.

If there are ways to make the GRDA more efficient without increasing costs to the consumer, that’s great.

There are some things that should be sold for profit.

Cable or satellite television, for instance, is a choice.

You can receive TV for free. You also can choose more expensive packages that meet your entertainment needs.

But electricity is realistically a necessity, not a luxury.

The GRDA appears to be doing a good job.

Why mess with a good thing?

The major worry would not be alleviated until after customers open up their bills under a private company.

If the rates shoot up, it’s too late to go back.

The task force needs to be mindful that GRDA customers have a good thing right now.