Home What's Brewing? Powerless Utilities

Powerless Utilities

The damage caused by the 2006 pre-holiday windstorm which swept through the Puget Sound region masks the troubling infrastructure being propped up by Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy and shiftis the focus away from the real problems of why our Puget Sound energy distribution system is neither dependable enough nor robust enough to protect against the challenges ahead. Since they outsourced their maintenance crews a few years back (to Patelco, among others), PSE does little but splice and re-tension the wires. Knowledgeable sources report that without preventative maintenance, the whole infrastructure is crumbling, much like our bridges and highways. Yet there is no financial incentive for PSE to take the steps necessary to invest in fortifying a decaying system. And yet they are regulated by Olympia where they claim to be working in the public interest! (Or is that shareholder interest?). Speak out at the upcoming hearings or count on energy failures to be a recurring part of life for your business and/or family. [24×7]

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Giving the Web Way
Technology is changing the way people approach philanthropy. Call it Philanthropy 2.0. The power of the Internet not only makes it possible for donors to find organizations and causes they support around the world, but it means that even small amounts by individuals can make a big difference because of the sheer volume of givers.

The Seattle Times reports on the GlobalGiving Web site whose missions range from improving health care for mothers in rural Tibet to helping revitalize small businesses in poor areas of the Mississippi River Delta after Hurricane Katrina.

GlobalGiving, based in Washington D.C., also strives for a lean operation. The nonprofit has 15 full-time and three part-time employees. It has directed donations to more than 700 projects in 85 countries and has given out $4.25 million in donations since 2001.

San Francisco-based Kiva has managed to keep its own operating costs low — it has spent just $320,000 so far among seven employees, raising $1.5 million in loans to 2,600 people. PayPal offers its services to Kiva free of charge, Google provides free advertising and Microsoft Research funded and conducted a project in East Africa to determine the best technologies to facilitate microfinance using Kiva. [24×7]

Isilon’s IPO Wraps 2006 with a Power Surge
While many in the Seattle region were struggling without electrical power on Friday, Isilon Systems surged in its stock market debut. The first IPO in more than six years saw shares rise almost 77 in opening performance raising $108 million in a public offering that industry watchers described as one of the hottest of the year. The stock closed at $23.10, giving the money-losing company a market value of $1.4 billion. [