5
Jan
2006

Make sure that the power and water where YOU live remain under the control of local community-based public utilities

Wow - it's all going down rather fast, huh? Those of you that don't have a copy of the End of Suburbia may want to watch it. It's a documentary and is very sobering. (thanks C&J for sending me one!)

Anna

Begin forwarded message:
From: Greg
Date: January 4, 2006 7:05:06 AM HST


This excerpt below parallels the issue of privatizing resources/water/seeds that Anna, Juliette, and others have brought up. Under the new Republican "energy" bill, the public utility power company concept has been killed--replaced by the consolidation of utilities in mega corporations privately owned by the super rich. What this means down the road is that when peak oil and natural gas shortages hit electrical generation and heating, rather than everyone "sharing the pain," the mega corps will simply shut off power and heat to the marginal markets. This could mean many small communities stuck in the dark and cold for periods of time. Word to the wise: make sure that the power and water where YOU live remain under the control of local community-based public utilities. Better yet, secure your own water and power supplies.

Stupid rhetorical question: why is it that "deregulation," touted as bringing competition, efficiency, consumer choice, and lower prices always creates exactly the opposite? Hmmm....

Greg

//www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/010306_end_grid_summary.shtml

"January 4, 2006 0800 PST (FTW) – With the eagerness and drive of a baseball player on steroids, the largest financial powerhouses in the nation have been gobbling up publicly owned utilities since George W. Bush signed the new energy bill last fall. It is not just that ownership of these life-essential services is being concentrated in a few rich and unregulated hands — it is the identities of the owners that should make worry about what's coming. If the writing on this wall got any clearer, you'd need to buy a box of popcorn and sit down for the horror show.

Best get a blanket and some long johns first.

Since the passage of America's most recent energy bill on August 8th, many public utilities have been acquired by some of the wealthiest people on the planet. With the loss of public regulation that came with the repeal of the Public Utility Company Holding Act as part of that measure, these "cash cows," to which tens of millions of people make monthly payments, are being converted into liquid giants that can be used to acquire other utility companies, or to trade ever-diminishing energy resources for profit. There is no rationing by government yet, only the rationing of the "free markets." That's only until the wheels come off and Peak Oil and Gas trigger uprisings and "civil unrest" (I absolutely detest that term – the word is "riot," and it is not solved by a quick second or third mortgage). Only then will government step in, and then only to try and prop up the façade of a sustainable paradigm of infinite growth.

Instead of maintaining the grid for as long as possible, these amalgamating giants will now accelerate its demise. What is about to happen is the living embodiment of a statement made by a Dutch economist at a Paris Peak Oil conference in the spring of 2003: "It may not be profitable to slow decline."

No more will utilities invest ratepayers' money in extra capacity for the 20-year drought, the 50-year heat wave or the 100-year cold snap. Instead, every ounce of extra capacity will be sold off, under-maintained, or discontinued to maximize cash on hand for the next buyout or LBO. Ratepayer money will be used for the benefit of shareholders, not ratepayers. When it comes time to decide whether to make a handsome profit or keep people warm, there won't even be a debate. These privately owned giants will be able to arbitrage energy to the highest bidder. They will be able to buy other, smaller entities just as the major oil companies have been doing for decades, adding the smaller companies' reserves and net profits onto their price/earnings (P/E) ratios."

(snip)
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