What is it about government that seems to encourage inertia? In my nine months in office I've yet to find an answer to that question. Government is great at talking about issues and problems, but talk is like any other commodity—the more of it there is, the cheaper it gets. It's not a people problem. I see talent everywhere I look. Is there something about the institution of government that discourages the eagles from soaring? What I hear all too often is not what we can do, but rather what we can't do.
I've heard a lot of talk about surviving these troubled times. I am convinced we can not only survive, we can thrive if we take the initiative. Yes, talking and listening are important parts of problem-solving, but sooner or later you have to take action. I agree with Mark Twain, "The secret to getting ahead is getting started."
For example, at my request, the Corporation Commission this summer held a hearing on issues associated with horizontal drilling. The concerns voiced by mineral and surface owners, working interest owners, producers and others who packed the hearing could have been viewed as overwhelming. But, I and others saw them as challenges to be met. Horizontal drilling is too important to the state's economy to fail to act. We got started. The Commission is facilitating groups made up of representatives from all interested parties to work on equitable solutions.
We've all heard of the need for a "smart grid" to provide more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective electricity. Toward that end, the Commission is working with states, utilities, and stakeholders of Southwest Power Pool (SPP), our region's transmission organization, to 1) enable utilities to access and deliver electricity that may be cheaper at a particular moment; 2) ensure the necessary transmission infrastructure exists or will exist to allow for the development of wind farms; and 3) provide a system by which Oklahoma could export and sell electricity to other states resulting in a financial boost to our state's economy and people.
The Commission is giving consumers more direct control over their utility costs, through such things as smart meters and real-time pricing, while remaining mindful of protecting consumers' privacy. The Commission also is looking at ways to help delay the need for costly new electric generation plants by requiring proposed energy efficiency plans from regulated electric companies.
We're improving the way this agency does business. For instance, a collaborative review of our Rules of Practice is underway, with my favorite edict, "Say what you mean," at the heart of every rule review. The goal is to be more effective in conducting the agency's business—saving time and money for Oklahomans and those the Commission regulates.
These types of endeavors require us to really get started. That's when I'm reminded of Will Rogers' warning, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."