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2062Coal, Wyatt and Texas power

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  • mark r. johnson
    Jul 3, 2003
      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, chasmauch@a... wrote:
      > ...I think San Antonio and several other south Texas
      > towns use a lot of coal. This is a carryover effect of Oscar Wyatt's
      > years ago, an early day Enron type scam that should have resulted in
      > bankruptcy of Coastal States, but due to his effective wheeling and
      dealing and
      > his sharp lawyers, he was able to wiggle out of it.

      I have generally heard of Oscar Wyatt being a crooked businessman, and
      I am willing to believe the worst about him. But I have not heard this
      story and would certainly like to see a reference to educate me about it.

      One thing I would request, is to not lump all scams in the same
      category -- I think it is important to *understand* scams so honest
      people can better protect themselves. My understanding is Enron was a
      particular type of criminal business behavior; I would not want to say
      another criminal businessman is "like Enron" unless it is absolutely true.

      > Older folks will remember
      > the details but anyway SA and some other south Texas towns switched
      over from
      > gas to coal and have been using it ever since.

      I guess by now I am one of the older folks, and this is specialized
      knowledge that we *don't* all remember. Actually, I want to express
      real skepticism that Wyatt was that influential in the building of
      lignite/coal plants in Texas. One cannot "convert" a natural gas plant
      to coal, as coal requires some elaborate and expensive machinery to
      handle it. I try to stay aware of electric generating technology and
      have never heard of a gas plant being converted to coal. If I am wrong
      then please have mercy and point me to some education.

      Lignite is a traditional fuel and in ample cheap supply in certain
      areas of Texas. Furthermore, the utilities in question cannot simply
      make a fuel choice arbitrarily, many are municipals (e.g. Austin and
      San Antonio) and so the city government is the body to give approval
      for any spending plan. Others such as Dallas' TXU must go to the PUC
      for approval of new plants -- granted TXU knows how to manipulate the
      PUC fairly well but it's not the style of Oscar Wyatt to have the
      patience to participate in PUC dockets (not unless somebody else does
      the huge amounts of routine work). It's easy to *imagine* a person
      like Oscar Wyatt setting energy policy for Texas, but believe me the
      real process is slow, painstaking, and includes many checks and
      balances which inhibit one person from having much influence.

      Please forgive the rather contentious tone of my post, I don't mean to
      denigrate you but am more interested in getting to the facts in as
      simple and direct a manner as possible.

      Best wishes -- Mark Johnson
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