Bailout Watch #48 – May 30, 2001

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

Bailout Watch #48 – May 30, 2001

Q. What’s unaffordable, unfair, unnecessary and probably unlawful? A. The utility bailout and "bailout lite" proposals that continue to float around the State Capitol. But Edison is lobbying fiercely for a rescue, and hoping that the ads Edison is running day and night, featuring corporate huckster David Whorowitz, will soften the Legislature — and give lawmakers political cover. (Has anybody called Edison and asked where they are getting the $$ to run this massive media campaign?) FTCR sent state lawmakers a six-page letter yesterday detailing the folly of such a bailout.

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. President. Your input is greatly appreciated. Clearly you have a thoughtful long-term energy policy that will address the energy needs of all Americans without sacrificing the environment. And obviously you are deeply concerned about the troubles faced by Californians and you are doing everything you can to ameliorate the situation. And…oh, we can’t keep up this charade any longer: give us the price controls that everybody knows California needs to make it through the summer. This is not some political grudge match, Mr. Prez. At stake is the economy of California, the health and safety of its residents, and in all likelihood, the nation’s economy. Not to mention the future of your beloved ideology (deregulation). Whether you like it or not, you’re on the same ship as us, so start paddling.

Governor Davis cannot use President Hoover Bush as an excuse. The Gov. is right about Bush-Cheney, and thanks to Bush, Davis got a lot of airtime to make his point yesterday — way more than the flip-off thirty minutes he got with Bush himself. But just because Bush-Cheney seem more inclined to protect an economic theory than the actual well-being of California, does not mean that the Gov. can throw up his hands and say, "I’ve done everything I can do." Now is time for leadership. Now is the time to marshal the resources of the state to go after the generators who have been decimating our economy and holding us hostage. The Gov. must lead California in a charge against the Cartel. And if the battle shapes up in a way that requires the Governor to seize the power plants they are using to gain their ransom, then the Governor and the Attorney General should be prepared to do so. Hail Seizer.

From the "it’s not deregulation, it’s California" file. Massachusetts ratepayers, who began their foray into deregulation with a 1997 law learned last week that "Massachusetts’ soaring electric rates appear to be headed even higher: Yesterday, Massachusetts Electric and Fitchburg Gas & Electric asked state regulators to raise rates another 9 to 11 percent on July 1," according to the Boston Globe. But a more significant indictment of deregulation in the Bay State was noted by The Globe in January: "The average customer’s bill is up 15 percent to 20 percent, and there is no one offering a lower price. Yet utility and state officials insist deregulation is working." They must be spending too much time with the gang at Cheers.

More Massachusetts. Guess which out-of-state generator is pushing up wholesale power prices and causing the above-mentioned rate hikes in Massachusetts? PG&E!!! Massachusetts Electric gets its power from power from plants owned by PG&E-subsidiary National Energy Group. They’ve screwed up California plenty, guess it’s time to sink New England.

Join FTCR’s Blackout Brigades!

Judgment Day
524 Days Until November 5, 2002

Consumer Watchdog
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