Originally created 01/16/97

Dismisses defense of `public' lakes

I see the Southeastern Electric Association has a big ad campaign in support of (keeping) public lakes rather than selling the hydroelectric-producing reservoirs to private utilities.

Pardon me for making a few observations:

- If public (i.e., government) lakes are so totally wonderful and their advantages are self-evident, self-proving and universal, then why does the S.E.A. need a huge, big-buck advertising campaign to try to sell it?

- "Low cost electricity" is advertised. I recall that the electricity produced by the Tennessee Valley Authority is now the highest-priced electricity the world has ever known. The owner of a well-insulated, moderately sized, all-electric house in that region can easily pay $500 per month for this government-produced electricity.

- Does no one remember a mere few years back when "public lake" Clarks Hill was lowered 17 feet, rendering recreational use of the lake impossible for months? All marinas, restaurants, bait shops and other stores suffered great financial hardship, with many going broke. Privately owned Lake Oconee dropped only a foot or two during the same period.

- Property adjacent to Clarks Hill Reservoir (now Strom Thurmond Lake) was allocated by the government in accordance with political pecking order. Most property is leased from the government, therefore no real capital investment is present. Thurmond Lake property is largely public, meaning that trash is strewn everywhere. Compare this to Lake Oconee where upscale golf courses, marinas, residential communities and capital investment abound and produce a favorable tax base for the counties involved.

- If an investor-owned utility can better manage a reservoir and produce electricity at less cost then government electricity, why shouldn't we divest the government of these lakes? Investor-owned utilities have millions of shareholders all across America, and to characterize them as greedy special interest groups is farcical propaganda. ...

Allen W. Johnson, Augusta


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