Is the California Energy Crisis a SCAM?

by T. Curtis

The Power crisis in CA feels like a SCAM; smells like a SCAM. Maybe I have been watching
X-Files too long. Maybe I have been the victim of moral-less Big Business too long. I do know
that having my power out (like it was WED) seems odd in such a powerful and wealthy state.
Chronology

More outages today (01/19/01). Official notices

Here is why I think California energy crisis due to deregulation is a SCAM

  1. There have been interviewees on television stating it is a SCAM.This means there are credible people second guessing the energy crisis. (Not just conspiracy
    nuts.)

    politics  |  protest  |  preparation

  2. Deregulation was “sold” to the public as a means to lower rates and enable power companies
    to improve the service. We all can remember the numerous times power companies such as PG&E
    has requested to raise rates only to be denied by the regulation board. This means power
    companies have always desired to raise consumer rates. Raising rates means greater
    profits.truth  |  false
    promises
      |  naive ambition
  3. PG&E, the largest power producer and distributor in the state, has recently reorganized
    itself to protect it’s revenues. The new structure consists of a parent company (officers,
    Board, shareholders), a power producing company (power plants), and a power distributing
    company (power lines). Notably, it is the power distributing company that is failing. The
    parent and producing companies are not in danger of bankruptcy, nor are they experiencing
    credit problems with vendors. This means PG&E has prepared for this crisis in advance,
    displaying premeditated behavior.deception  |  shell game (Note
    how release distinguishes the different companies) |  falling ax
  4. Facilites and Infrastructure are disappearing:
    1. Currently there are more than a few power plants not producing or producing at less
      than maximum due to various reasons from system failure to weather inhibition. The power
      producing industry also claims that there is a need for more power plants. This means power
      production has to be supplemented by purchasing power from other states. This means greater
      overhead and translates to higher consumer rates.reduced output  |  shut
      downs
    2. The tangible infrastructure (power lines, etc.) are reported by the power distribution
      companies to be operating at maximum levels. This means the power distribution companies
      couldn’t purchase more power if they wanted to. Thus a need for higher consumer rates to
      fund new plant projects.size matters  |  quantity matters
    3. Conspiracists claim that the power producing companies are intentionally producing at
      less than maximum levels in order to create a “shortage’ thus increasing the demand for
      outside purchasing and more power plants.lawsuit  |  (Interesting: seems as if http://www.dcisc.org/ has removed its power production reports
      found by search engines…)

More Behavior Evidence:

The Power Consortium has threatened “Rolling Blackouts” (RBO) numerous times in the last year.
Increasing a public perception of a crisis. Notably, these RBO threats have occurred AFTER
deregulation.

Seeing that public perception of an energy crisis to be nil, the Power Consortium threatened
RBOs three times this week before beginning RBOs on the third day. At mid day. Was this effective
or a mistake. (At noon my power went off – great time for a lunch break. “Oops some of the
nearby restaurants are closed. Hmmm, maybe I should make a sandwich…”)

There have been few if any power plants built in the last 5 years. Intentional preplanning or
powerful environmentalists and “not in my backyard” citizens?

suspected
withholding

Facing a freeze on shareholder dividends and credit problems with vendors, PG&E lays-off
1450 people. 1450!? Why not 5%? 10%? Or more? A layoff off 1000 people seems hardly fiscally
significant. More like an action of gesture than desperation.

layoffs

Note: All the previous applies to electricity, not natural gas.

Now the power consortium is rattling the railing threatening Natural Gas shortages. (Did they
make a mistake? Scenario: lights are out but at least I can cook and power the heater… Not a
significant crisis?) Natural gas is also used to fuel power plants.

switching to
oil

And OPEC, the consortium that provides crude oil that fuels power plants and automobiles, is
threatening to decrease production.

the
squeeze

Be prepared: politicians are willing to trade their cash cow for gaseous beans!

praying for
a miracle


What can we do?

Probably nothing but open up our wallets. I know I plan to try and conserve more by using
timers and sensors to reduce wasted energy. I am also experiencing a growing sensation of
curiosity in solar energy and capacitors which I could construct devices to provide enough energy
to provide light and radio. At least the phone still works which means I can use my battery power
laptop to surf the web, my cell phone to order lunch, and a radio to listen to the media fluff up
the crisis to proportions of disaster.

alternatives

Visit this site more information about
the crisis

Published: Fri., Jan. 19th, 2001