Bailout Watch #39 – May 08, 2001

Published on

BAILOUT WATCH: Keeping an eye on the energy industry and the politicians

Bailout Watch #39 – May 08, 2001

Oink. Governor Davis will meet this Wednesday with representatives of some of the most gluttonous corporations in America. (The Gov. had invited execs of the energy companies that have been gouging California, but it seems that many of the head honchos have not-so-graciously declined, sending underlings instead.) Like pigs at the trough, the energy companies are rolling in profits (see BW#34, 36) while taxpayers pay $50 million or more a day. Energy executives have been among the chief beneficiaries. The OC Register tracked down the stats, and the numbers are worth repeating:

    * Enron. Its chairman (and chief energy advisor to the Prez, no matter what Spencer Abraham wants to believe) Kenneth Lay took in $141.6 million in salary, bonuses and stock in 2000. CEO Jeffrey Skilling went home with $72.6 million.
    * Calpine. $23.9 million for Pete Cartwright. The lone Californian in the pen – got a 624% increase.
    * AES. Its boss, Dennis Bakke, got robbed at $12.8 million in compensation last year (though it was up 546 percent from 1999).
    * Williams Company. Keith Bailey (who "might be the man who saves our future" according to one columnist) raked in $7.05 million last year, just about what his company paid to settle a FERC action against Williams for a bit of energy market manipulation.

So if it smells like bacon in Sacramento on Wednesday, you’ll know why.

Pig in a Poke. Corporate huckster David Horowitz is back as TV booster for the $8 billion ratepayer bailout Edison and Gov. Davis want to shove down our throats. He claims he’s "Fighting Back." We think he’s getting a Kick Back. Read the news release.

Round 3: Blackouts hit as Legislature considers billions in bonds. For the third time in as many emergencies, rolling blackouts hit California just as the energy industry was pushing for more money. Generators want California to issue the largest bond package in American history, thereby making additional state money available for future energy purchases. Can somebody flip the switch on their way to the trough?

And from the Bailout Watch music archive:
Rolling Blackout Theme Song (To the theme music from the TV western "Rawhide")*

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’,
Though the state is golden,
Keep them blackouts rollin’, statewide.
A little colder weather,
And we all freeze together,
Wishin’ more plants were on the line.
All the things I’m missin’,
Like lights and television,
Are waiting ’til we can pay the price.

Turn ’em on, turn ’em off,
Shut ’em down, block ’em out,
Turn ’em on, turn ’em off, statewide!
Brown ’em out, black ’em out,
Charge ’em more, give ’em less,
Let the pols fix the mess, statewide!

Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
Though they’re disapprovin’,
Keep them rates a-movin’, statewide.
Don’t try to understand ’em,
Just raise, charge, and collect ’em.
Soon we’ll be livin’ high and wide.
My heart’s calculatin’,
Nuclear plants will be waitin’,
Be waitin’ at the end of my ride.

Turn ’em on, turn ’em off,
Shut ’em down, block ’em out,
Turn ’em on, turn ’em off, statewide!
Brown ’em out, black ’em out,
Charge ’em more, give ’em less,
Let the pols fix the mess, statewide!
STATEWIDE!!! Hyaah!!

*Thanks to BW reader Al B. for forwarding the ditty (author unknown)

Judgment Day
546 Days Until November 5, 2002

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

Latest Videos

Latest Releases

In The News

Latest Report

Support Consumer Watchdog

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, press releases and special reports.

More Releases