PW
Español

 

PW
Guyana
Surinam


PW
Trinidad

& Tobago

 

Precios
Gráficos





Very usefull links







Very usefull links







Very usefull links





Institutional
links

 


OPEC
\



TT My Energy

 




 

 



IAEA


 




 


PW
Business Partners

 


IRAQ OIL
THE FORUM

 


Blogspots

FxHQ Forex News

The Global Barrel

Tiempo Cultural

Gustavo Coronel

Iran Watch.org

Le Blog des
Energies Nouvelles

News Links

AP

AFP

Aljazeera

Dow Jones

Oil price

Reuters

Bloomberg

Views and News
from
Norway

 

 

 

PW ISSUES....
Inside, confidential and off the record

 

 

 

Texas Gets Lay'd

 

 

Greg Palast Newsletter

The Absurd Electric Bills Slamming Texans

 

 

How the Bush Family turned off the Lights

Maybe because Texas gave us that wet-lipped huckster Ted Cruz, you think the state deserves to freeze in the dark.

I get that, but it's not their fault, a least not the victims burning family heirlooms to stave off frostbite.

“What happened was entirely predictable,” power distribution expert attorney Beth Emory said of the blackouts. She told me this twenty years ago, after the first blackouts in Texas and California, following the cruel experiment called “deregulation” of the power industry.

Until 1992, the USA had just about the lowest electricity prices in the world and the most reliable system.

For a century, power companies had been limited by law to recovering their provable costs plus a “reasonable,” i.e. small, profit. But in 1992, George H. W. Bush, in the last gasps of his failed presidency, began to deregulate the industry.

The de-regulation mania's principal promoters were my two professors, Milton Friedman and George Stigler, who claimed that the problem with regulated and publicly-owned systems was that they were too reliable. Utilities, which could only charge what they spent, were supposedly “gold plating” their systems – i.e. investing too much into making sure lights stayed on.  That "problem" has been fixed.

“Deregulate” is a misnomer. “De-criminalize” describes it best. With the “free market” supposedly setting the price of power, Texas-based Enron was freed to use such techniques as “Ricochet,” “Get Shorty,” and “Death Star” to blow prices through the roof when weather shut down power plants. (This week was not the first game of Texas Gouge'm.)

Enron was not the only Lone Star power pirate. Houston Power & Light was “ramping” plants up and down at odd hours which whistleblowers said was deliberate.

Bush's son “Shrub,” Texas Gov. George W. Bush, signed a law in 1999 forcing the state's hapless customers to accept any price the “free” market dictated. Enron's CEO Ken Lay showed his appreciation by becoming Baby Bush's number one donor for Dubya's presidential ambitions.

This week, wholesale electric prices in Texas, normally $50 per megawatt-hour, busted over $9,000/MWHR. Again. It happens with every cold snap and heat wave. One shop owner, Akilah Scott-Amos, showed the Daily Beast her electric bills which blew up from $34 per month to $450 for a single day.


Courtesy Akilah Scott-Amos


On Saturday, February 13, 2021 Griddy customer Akilah Scott-Amos was charged $456.78 for a single day's power. By Monday, her bill had increased by another $2,500. Last year, she paid $33.93 for the entire month of February.

Cutting the Power Lines to Texas

Every state in America interconnects their power lines to provide back-up in case of emergencies. Except Texas. To prevent federal regulation, Texas deliberately has refused to connect its lines to other states.

The federal government, can only police utilities that are connected to the national grid. So, Texas literally cut itself off from the rest of the USA's electric system.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott blames frozen wind farms for this week's deadly disaster. Gov. Quixote's attack on windmills ignores his state's suicidal disconnection from the region's back-up sources. California is sitting on massive excess power capacity. With 80,000 megawatts of capacity, the Golden State often gives away power free to other states. This week, the sun is shining here in LA — and our solar, wind and hydro generators could easily un-thaw Texas if the Lone Star hadn't been Lay'd by the Bushes.

Of course, the rulers of Texas, the beneficiaries of freezer-burn pricing, know this. This week, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump's first Energy Secretary, said, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

Well, Rick and Ted can tan in Cancun while oxygen machines in Loredo shut down.
 

The Solution: Democracy

I didn't need a crystal ball in 1998 when I predicted that California, Texas, Oregon and Rio de Janeiro would go dark and cold if they de-regulated their power markets.

In a series of lectures at Cambridge University, the London School of Economics and the University of Sao Paolo [yes, I had a life before journalism], I said, in academic terms, the screamingly obvious: There is no such thing as a “free” market in electricity. Electricity isn't a bagel. You can't skip it in the morning when the price goes berserk nor shop at another electricity store.

The alternative to blackouts and price gouging is Democracy. Regulation is merely the enforcement of publicly voted rules to protect the public from economic overlords.

This alternative to free market mania was first applied by the man who electrified America, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Listen to FDR in Portland, Oregon, in 1932::

To the people of the country I have but one answer on this subject. Judge me by the enemies I have made. Judge me by the selfish purposes of these utility leaders. My friends, my policy is as radical as the Constitution of the United States. I promise you this: Never shall the Federal Government part with its sovereignty or with its control of its power resources while I'm President of the United States.

To make his point, the Roosevelt Justice Department arrested the nation's top utility executive Samuel Insull and busted up his holding companies.

Democratizing the electric system also produced another alternative to Ken-Lay-ism: socialism . In the 1930s, much of America had no electric service. Roosevelt launched the massive rural electric cooperatives, Tennessee Valley and Bonneville Power Administrations, and other publicly-owned systems that still today provide cheap, reliable non-profit power to one fifth of America.
 

Darkness at Noon in Portland

The reason Portland, Oregon, also went dark this week goes back to July 20, 2005, when the Governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, vetoed a bill that would have allowed the city's residents to take ownership of the Enron-owned power system.

According to my professors, Milton Friedman and George Stigler, the problem with the formerly regulated and publicly-owned systems is that they were too reliable. Utilities, which could only charge what they spent, supposedly “gold plating” the system – i.e. invested too much into making sure it works.

The privateers of Portland and of Houston can now pocket the savings from letting their systems decay. And they have.

So, the solution to the deadly darkness is obvious: More Roosevelt, less Bush.
 


My treatise on the utility industry, co-authored with Jerrold Oppenheim and Theo MacGregor, was published by the United Nations International Labor Organization as Democracy
and Regulation: A Guide to the Control of Privatized Public Services [Pluto Press 2003].

Original Article

Greg Palast / GregPalast.com / Feb.20, 2021


PW ISSUES....
02 /22/2021

Inside, confidential and off the record

Is an independent journalist effort from Petroleumworld, on Inside, Confidential and Off The Record Information, the views are not necessarily those of Petroleumworld

Follow us in : twitter / Facebook

Send this story to a friend Copyright© 1999-2020. Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.

We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.

Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Write to editor@petroleumworld.comBy using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Petroleumworld.com

Hit your target - Advertise with us



Any question or suggestions,
please write to: editor@petroleumworld.com
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8,10 +/ 800x600 pixels





 

 


TOP

Contact: editor@petroleumworld.com/Telephone:(58 414) 276 3041

Editor:
Elio Ohep.

Director & Producer: Elio Ohep

Contact: editor@petroleumworld.com

Advertising:Malena Vasquez:58 412 952 5301
Technorati Profile

PW in Top 100 Energy Sites


CopyRight ©1999- 2020, Petroleumworld ™  / Elio Ohep- All rights reserved

Legal Information

 

This site is a public free site and it contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.
We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of business, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have chosen to view the included information for research, information, and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from Petroleumworld or the copyright owner of the material.Internet Web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are apreciated.

 

Petroleumworld no se hace responsable por los juicios de valor emitidos por esta publicacion, por sus colaboradores y columnistas de opinión y análisis. Aceptamos colaboraciones previa evaluación por nuestro equipo editorial, estamos abiertos a todo tipo o corriente de opiniones, siempre y cuando a nuestro juicio esten dentro de valores éticos y morales razonables. Petroleumworld alienta a las personas a reproducir, reimprimir, y divulgar a través de los medios audiovisuales e Internet, los comentarios editoriales y de opinión de Petroleumworld, siempre y cuando esa reproducción identifique a la fuente original, http://www.petroleumworld.com y se haga dentro de el uso normal (fair use) de la doctrina de la sección 107 de la Ley de derechos de autor de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica (US Copyright) Internet Web links hacia http://www.petroleumworld.com son apreciadas.

.