El Paso Electric sale
Re: “City divided over EP Electric sale” by Sara Sanchez, Dec. 15-21, 2019 page 1A:
I was formerly a UTEP electrical engineering professor and now work in an independent business. In 2018 I did a deep dive into the El Paso Electric rate case as a consultant. Given what I know and what I learned, I believe it is complete folly for the city to take over El Paso Electric.
Electric utilities have historically operated on 30 and 40-year horizons. Bonds are paid off and capital costs are amortized over lengthy payback periods.
But this long term planning is complicated by a seismic shift presently underway in the power business, driven by solar panels and electric cars. Future electric power needs will be well served by cheap solar generation and by the advent of low-cost batteries (coming soon) for nighttime storage. Power companies are likely to become less relevant but will be stuck with paying for assets with a 40-year life.
The city of El Paso is asking for trouble if it enters a mature industry that is undergoing such massive near-term disruption. The city should stay out of the power business.