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News ::
why the blackout? (english)
20 Aug 2003
Modified: 06:45:36 PM
a brief explaination of what happened...
The media and almost everyone seem to be asking why we had this blackout in the northeast. And some are also wondering if it will happen here. I'm ready with my kerosene lamps and though collecting dust my manual typewriter sits anxiously waiting. In the meantime, I'd like to briefly explain just what did happen.
Let's go all the way back to the FDR administration where utility regulation 1st began. FDR put in jail Samuel Insull for faking accounting books and ripping of consumers. As well he created the Federal Power Commission & the Public Utilities Holding Company Act which set in place the 1st of the utility regulations. The laws banned power trading of utilities and required clear disclosure of profits and expenditures. FDR also banned political contributions of any kind from utilities.
Now, let's jump forward to good ol Bush Sr, when in '92, just before leaving office, he deregulated electricity on the federal level. Well, that didn't do a whole lot at first because the states still hadn't deregulated.
Well, behind the blinding glow of Bill and Monica's cigar, CA & TX utilities were hard at work to do just that and the CA power companies spent $38 million to squash a referendum being pushed by Ralph Nader to defeat the deregulation. & they dumped another $37 million into state campaigns and a scam convincing the voters that deregulation would reduce their energy costs by 20%. Abracadabra, regulations were gone in CA with barely a peep heard by the citizens and the cost of electricity skyrocketed. Not because the per unit charges rose, but because of hidden surcharges; for example, in San Diego those surcharges rose by 300%!
How about those rolling blackouts on the west coast? Once upon a time there was a company called Enron. They won a bid in May of 2000 in a fixed auction to supply 500 megawatts of power over their 15 megawatt power lines. Faced with impending total blackouts the state was forced to pay very dearly which cost the consumers $6.2 billion in excess charges. & then in December Clinton placed price caps in CA and banned Enron from the utilities market.
But within 3 days of being elected the shrub, whose party received $16 million from the utilities (7 times that of contributions to the democrats), reversed Clinton’s executive order and Enron was back in biz in CA. meanwhile, Pataki did just the same in NY and relieved Niagara Mohawk (NiMo) of their obligation to properly fund the maintenance of the Northeast's grid system. Then Bush and Pataki allowed National Grid of England to buy up NiMo, fire 800 workers and rake in almost $90 million.
And under cover of war Mr. Bush has been busy pushing congress towards more deregulation. So, everyone seems to be scrambling to figure out why this blackout occurred, well there it is folks: the grid is old & decrepit; why? Yet again it is corruption. And I say horray as the free-market chokes once more and if we don't keep it in check & burn it downonce in a while, it will choke itself out. I'm ready. Are you?
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