Summer is almost here, and Dr. Snarky Sparks is issuing her summer travel advisories to avoid health threats?including eyestrain?for those traveling to underdeveloped and\/or underlit locations without getting those unpleasant inoculations beforehand. Shots or no shots, Snarky recommends scratching off your list of exotic summer destinations India, Vietnam, Russia, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Do wait to visit the Taj Mahal et al., if you want to be able to see its interior—and that of other impressive tourist locales—lit up. The power situation is so shaky in India that the country?s prime minister promised that 100,000 MW of new plants will be installed by 2012. Want to guess what the price tag will be? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh?s decree is expected to cost only hundreds of billions of dollars. Just one power plant proposal by Reliance Energy has a wee price tag of $11 billion, according to Reuters. Vietnam seems to be in even more dire straits at the moment, so visit Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi another day. The combination of grim hydropower prospects, heat spell, and surging demand led Prime Minster Phan Van Khai to order the electricity sector to take immediate measures to curb expected blackouts. Topping the list are power cuts to nonessential services and conservation. ?Sound familiar?? asked Jeanne Clinton, a former California Power Authority staffer now working in Vietnam. Russia isn?t looking too bright either. A massive power outage hit much of Moscow at the end of May, which shut down its public transportation system. Moscovites were outraged, and a criminal proceeding was opened. Prosecutors summoned the head of the state electricity monopoly, Anatoly Chubais, according to the Wall Street Journal. Wonder if the CEO of the monopoly utility can be recalled? Have a hankering to go to Nicaragua or Bolivia? Well, think again. If you?re going to Managua, make sure you bring a good flashlight and lots of batteries. Last week, a state of emergency was declared by President Enrique Bolanos to avert a crisis caused by surging power prices. If you insist upon heading to the national capital with the highest altitude (and attitude), also pack a helmet and body armor because there is no paz in La Paz. There have been three weeks of growing protests, largely attributable to indigenous groups? efforts to get the government to pry foreign mitts off the country?s huge gas fields. ?The current battle over public control of gas and oil fields is Bolivia?s fifth major public uprising on an issue of economic globalization in as many years,? said Jim Schultz, director of the Democracy Center. Speaking of battles, but less violent, new California Public Utilities Commission member John Bohn expressed surprise at FERC members? willingness to smoke a peace pipe with their state counterparts during a joint meeting last week. After Pat Wood, Nora Brownell, and Joe Kelliher touted their efforts to work together with the state?on issues other than LNG siting, that is?Bohn said, ?I didn?t realize I was coming into a postwar environment.? Some of us thought the war wounds were pretty obvious. With FERC chair Wood heading out the door at the end of the month, the interim chair has yet to be announced. Kelliher was said to have been offered the temporary post, but he?s only interested in the real thing. Kelliher knows he is ?not the one? who will replace the chair, according to a Snarky source. Brownell is said to be interested in interim chairdom. The person said to be at the top of the list to take over Wood?s spot is Rebecca Klein, who just happens to be from his home state and sits on the Texas PUC. Last week, state and federal commissioners left their swords at the door so they could focus on proposals to ensure that supply meets demand this summer in California. CAISO?s Yakout Mansour said his home life summed up the matter. Mansour, the father of a four-month- old, remarked that his wife, who has the good sense to breast feed their baby, wore a shirt with ?supply? written across the chest. The baby in her arms wore a T-shirt with ?demand? stamped across it. Mansour did a quick calculation to assess the reliability of the system, concluding that the deal involved a reliability-must-run la leche deal. But back to Bohn: while holding fewer questionable investments than his almost-predecessor Steve Poizner, his portfolio could limit his votes on energy issues. According to the statement of economic interest he filed with the CPUC, Bohn holds stock in ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil, both of which plan to build LNG facilities. He also reported having shares in General Electric, which is in the nuclear and power plant turbine business, and a company that provides oil and natural gas service?Emerson Electric. Another official, one next door, is also not free and clear?but for other reasons. Dana Appling, director of the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, has been fighting for her agency?s independence, and the administration is said to be putting the screws to her. At the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the other shoe dropped last week in the U.S. attorney?s investigation into overbilling. Fleishman Hillard public relations executive Douglas Dowie became the second person indicted in the case, joining his former company colleague John Stodder. Dowie, who ran the Los Angeles office of Fleishman, routinely ordered subordinates to submit inflated bills to the department, the indictment alleged. As news of his indictment broke, KNBC TV aired exclusive footage of Dowie hamming it up with outgoing Los Angeles mayor James Hahn at a fun(d)raiser sponsored by the PR firm. The indictments come in an investigation of a ?pay to play? atmosphere at Los Angeles City Hall, in which contractors allegedly must make political contributions to win and retain contracts with the DWP and other city agencies. The firm not only raised money for Hahn but arranged press conferences leading up to his run for reelection. The indictment said that in 2003 Dowie e-mailed Stodder about padding the company?s monthly bill to LADWP by $30,000 for ?ambiguous counseling? for the mayor and top LADWP executives. Stodder replied by e-mail that $15,000 would fly ?without incurring too much more scrutiny.? Both Dowie and Stodder deny wrongdoing. Speaking of (En)wron(g)doing, the current federal energy bill includes a provision that would provide millions of dollars in loan guarantees for a power project allegedly built by former Enron honchos. The deal involves a $2.8 million coal gasification project located ?in a Western State at an altitude greater than 4,000 feet,? according to a section of the Senate bill. According to Public Citizen, the loan is aimed at Houston-based DKRW Energy, founded by Jon Doyle, Robert Kelly, H. David Ramm, and Thomas White (do note the first letters of their last names and the name of the company). ?Congress should not be in the business of slipping taxpayer subsidies into large bills to benefit individual corporations, especially executives from a company that perpetrated one of the greatest corporate frauds in American history,? stated Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen president.