Between the lines: Out with the old

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

By Gwen Kautz
General Manager

I read with great interest the paradigm shift that is currently happening with the U.S. Cattleman’s Association. They are protesting the advent of meatless meat. We’ve seen these products locally at Burger King, Qdoba and other fast food chains. Will it catch on?

There’s a small percentage of people who are way more vocal than citizenry that rests in the 80 percent column (10 percent are happy, 10 percent are furious and 80 percent are in the middle). It’s rare to hear from the happy people, even more rare to hear from 80 percent, but that furious 10 percent will let us know how they feel and they will push for change. Those are the ones whose emotion runs the very core of their belief systems. You will not still their voice by challenging them – in fact, you will only give them “free” marketing.

I am not personally interested in meatless meat. It makes no sense to me. BUT, for those who BELIEVE that red meat is not good for you, it makes perfect sense. I just saw a meme that said, “Plants have always helped make meat – they just do it through a processor called a cow.”

When an industry runs into a paradigm shift, they should reevaluate the impact and choose the path that produces better harmony. If the idea or change is a good one, it will survive; but if it is not, it will die its own death.

Paradigm shifts have occurred for many businesses…

  1. Horses and wagons were run over by automobiles.
  2. Digital imagery over-exposed camera film.
  3. Electricity blew out the flames of oil/kerosene lamps
  4. Fax machines lined out for email and scanners.
  5. Brick and mortar stores have been razed by online retail.
  6. Vinyl records ‘tuned’ over to digital music.
  7. Video rental stores streamed into online video options.
  8. Digital editions of magazines and newspapers faded print options.
  9. Microwaves took the heat from ovens.
  10. Cell phones ‘rang’ over landlines.
  11. Cloud computing rolled over hard drives.
  12. Renewable energy sources are replacing baseload generation.

I don’t believe in evolution in terms of human beings, but I do believe in evolution as it relates to industries, companies and products. It’s called progress. Not all progress is good, but there is one common theme…convenience.

Of course, #12 has impacted my industry. Dawson PPD chose to look at the shift in terms of reliability and cost. There are some individuals who will install a renewable system fully knowing that it will not pay for itself for 20, 30 or more years. They are more interested in the statement it makes related to saving the environment. If they believe in it that strongly, then that’s the direction they should head. Us fighting it wastes our time and energy (no pun intended).

Instead, we need to focus on what we can control and that is our own expenses related to selling kilowatt hours reliably and cost effectively. We need to make sure that their choice to install private renewable generation is not paid for by those of us who like how our electricity is currently delivered. We need to ensure that our distribution systems are maintained. My job is to figure out how to help Dawson PPD survive with fewer kilowatt hour sales. It’s a tough job when you’re stuck with decades of “that’ll never happen” optimism, or pessimism, you choose. Thankfully, the board that guides this district understand the changes and are willing to address them constructively.

There are many things I feel strongly about, politically, professionally and personally. It is not my right to push my opinions on someone who feels otherwise and vice-versa.

I am not advocating that we should go along to get along. Instead, we should respect the passion of others if we want them to respect ours.


January 2020

What our customers say

An informed customer is our greatest asset.