2069RE: [hreg] Coal, Wyatt and Texas power
- Jul 3, 2003The comments about Oscar Wyatt and San Antonio caught my interest (I didn't
live in Texas in those days, so it was all news to me) so I did some surfing
on the web. There is a lot of stuff on Oscar, so if you want to find out
information on him, just go surfing. Here's a little tidbit:
All in all, he sounds like a rather despicable man. I may be wrong. Anyhow,
while surfing, I happened on another site that may be of interest to
everyone. It comes from our dear friends the French, and has more energy
news than most people want to know about. Check the menu along the side: it
has a link to world renewable energy news (complements of "The World News
From: mark r. johnson [mailto:mrj53@...]
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 8:05 AM
Subject: [hreg] Coal, Wyatt and Texas power
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
> 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
> 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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