POWER POINT: Is some firm already hiring for state owned utilities Walker would sell? | Wis.Community

POWER POINT: Is some firm already hiring for state owned utilities Walker would sell?

[img_assist|nid=31624|title=Wis power plant|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=74|height=100]Well, what are we to make of the following pitch, verbatim from an online job-recruitment ad (URL below):

Energy client is looking for experienced Plant Managers for multiple power plants located in Wisconsin... . The ideal candidate will have experience as a Plant Manager in a power plant operating high pressure, coal fired boilers.

You know, even though it is a blind ad, meaning we can't be 100 percent certain, the language surely makes a person wonder if some private-sector utility operator isn't already salivating over assurances that it's going to be able to buy some or all of the 37 state-owned heating and cooling plants that Gov. Walker's "budget repair" bill would put up for sale, without bids. The ad could be unrelated, but does anyone know of multiple other coal-fired power plants on the market in Wisconsin?

Walker's bill empowers the secretary of the state Department of Administration to sell the plants. The plants are generally small and mainly serve University of Wisconsin campuses along with some state prisons and other facilities.

The bill already passed in the Assembly by Republicans also avoids a past requirement that the state Public Service Commission review whether all such sales are in the public interest.

Koch Industries -- which has an energy production unit -- has denied interest in buying the plants since an embarrassing prank phone call had a blogger posing as conservative activist David Koch chatting up Walker about his budget proposals and the resulting protests.

The guv's signature isn't even on the Senate version of the bill, which has yet to be enacted, but that apparently is not keeping suitors from betting they'll need to import a bunch of plant managers to start running the plants -- in place of state employees.

Interestingly, the ad makes it sound like the new guys would be making pretty decent wages, complete with a retirement plan and "excellent medical benefits." But the guv seems sure that this is going to save the state money, because, as we all know, the private sector is so much more efficient than the public sector. Especially when it comes to planning for projects that are still just a gleam in someone else's eye.

You've also got to wonder what kind of rates those new, for-profit operators are already planning to charge the state for providing heat, cooling and power to public buildings from those immoveable plants. Has anybody got a clue about that, including the legislature? Whoops, sorry. That's probably a trade secret.


February 28, 2011 - 4:09pm