Monday, October 10, 2005

Illinois Readers: Watch Out for Utility Company Bullshit!

In the last few days I've been hearing advertisements on the Television supposedly against utility reform. Here's how the speech goes (meaning-wise, not actual words):
Once upon a time California took over its utilities. Prices paid by the consumers stayed low for a while, but the costs went up. Then, one day, the lights went out, and California found itself with a massive bill -- one which they're still trying to pay, but are falling behind even today.

Don't let our state become another California. Write your congressman and your governor.

A bunch of bullshit. Here's the real story:

California had a well-run, well-regulated industry. Then, at the behest of the electrical utilities, California deregulated its utilities. An outside company (Enron; from Texas, of course) took over the supply side, then created a shortage that jacked up prices. The State stepped in when they felt they absolutely had to, then the prices dropped -- in mockery of the state. Had Enron not collapsed, I'm sure some other states (New York, Minnesota, Michigan, etc) would have found themselves played the same way, by the same company.

The Illinois Governor (Don't ask me to spell his name) wants to put a pro-consumer person in charge of their utility regulation commission. The utilities don't want that, as it would force them to actually be responsible towards the consumer, and not just when there's a remembrance of mass ineptitude.

And yes, write the governor, write your congressman. Tell him not to fall for these obvious lies. As long as we remember what happened in California, and what regulatory commissions are supposed to be for.

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