Silverstein for district 3 | Letters

I am writing this letter to all OPALCO members to discuss my support of Brian Silverstein for one of the District 3 Director positions. Brian’s résume, which you can read of on the OPALCO website, speaks for itself. I think it is fortunate for us that someone with his work experience with OPALCO’s provider of energy is not only willing but eager to put his experience to work in helping solve the issues that confront us. Difficult challenges are now the norm for OPALCO, and every co-op, PUD and utility company. I observe these challenges and opportunities through the lens of my involvement with renewable energy, both at home and in the county at large.

There are so many interesting and amazing things going on in the American utility sector now, the game is breaking wide open including more options for homeowners and businesses. Like everyone, I am concerned with the rates, but I see them through my personal lens of how the structure either helps or hinders the deployment of renewables. I believe that more renewables are better, because when they are tied with the OPALCO grid it makes the county more disaster-resilient.

Rate design is a wonky issue that has very painful impacts on our fellow islanders. There must be affordable power for all of us, and somehow, that objective must be made to dovetail with the very rapid changes in storage and transmission technology that increasingly spell doom for the old utility business models. OPALCO cannot go out of business, but it cannot dodge the future.

You can read what Brian has to say about “key issues.” Those rate design issues he mentions, wonky and difficult as they are, are the very heart of the issue of OPALCO’s survivability. Brian has suggested alternative rate designs that better balance the needs of all members including those who have installed renewables. We need relentless innovation in this matter.

We are living in interesting times! That’s not always so pleasant; One of the things I really like about Brian personally is he has a very calming manner; he once told me when we were discussing resolution of a problem that he focused “on the problem, not the person”… I commend Brian highly to you and urge your support for him.

Rick Strachan

Lopez Island