PHOENIX – Saying they won’t hurt Arizona utility customers to benefit Californians, [Arizona] state regulators on Wednesday rejected a utility’s plan to build a $581 million cross-desert power transmission line to carry electricity generated at plants in Arizona to customers in California.
In an essay, Frédéric Bastiat took note of a suggestion that the railroad from Paris to Spain have a break in the tracks at Bordeaux since “if goods and passengers are forced to stop at that city, this will be profitable for boatmen, porters, owners of hotels, etc.” What an idea, said Bastiat, and why not breaks at “Angoulême, Poitiers, Tours, Orléans, and, in fact, all the intermediate points”? He concludes, “we shall end by having a railroad composed of a whole series of breaks in the tracks, i.e., a negative railroad.”
Bastiat prefaced his little essay by warning against policy directed only with the interests of producers in mind. The Arizona Commerce Commission has neatly avoided this economic error by making the opposite mistake. Hence, call it the “reverse negative railroad,” or perhaps more appropriately in this case, the “negative power line.”
Commissioner Bill Mundell said. “I don’t want to be an energy farm for California – that’s my bottom line,” Mundell said. “It needs to be a two-way street.”
On principle, I suppose, Mundell will now start refusing to take refined gasoline products from California and Texas, natural gas from Texas and New Mexico, and electric power (ahem) from the 2 GW Four Corner’s plant in New Mexico.
Or is it okay, at Mundell’s bottom line, for other states to be “energy farms” for Arizona?