Utility Deregulation, Do we need it or not?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I know there is a vast array of people on this forum from all over the country and world,so I come to you to see what your opinions are on utility deregulation. Some of you live in states/countries that have it allready some live places where they are thinking about doing it and some don't have it at all. I am working inconjunction with other peolpe here in Michigan to start a grassroot effort to halt plans for electric deregulation here and maybe to turn the deregulated services we have around,but I need other peoples input on what they think about it in their areas? is it worth it? have you seen cheaper prices? how about service? etc.? What about alternatives? We ourselves cannot see any benefit to consumers in Michigan by deregulating utilities. We would rather see more promoting of solar and wind if possible.
-- TomK (email@example.com), June 22, 2001
Utility self-sufficiency is what we need, not deregulation.
If we want to see how well deregulation really works we need only look at the telephone industry or the trucking industry. Deregulation has made things better for the companies involved at the expense of the consumer. Deregulation of other industries is not likely to do anything different.
Want higher prices?...Deregulate.
-- Ed Copp (OH) (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 22, 2001.
I live in PA and we do have electric deregulation. I really dont know to much about it but did look into trying to find a cheaper elictric company[My bills run around $140 a month and that is not electric heat] because we are in such a rural area all the other electric co will not supply service out here. So electric deregulation has not helped us at all.
-- tracy (email@example.com), June 23, 2001.
All you have to know is what has hapened in California with the prices going up 1000%. Oregon sell a lot of Hydro power to CA. and they are going to deregulate here too, we have had 20-30% increases in power in the passt year. Now 30% is about a cent and a half nothing to cry about but this is just the beginning. As I recall, Consumer's Power of Michagan started as a co-op back when and that is/was why power has been cheap to reasonable. If Michigan deregulates what will that do to the auto & other major industries there, let alone the general public. Deregulatioon did not help the natural gas consumer now did it.
-- Hendo (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 23, 2001.
Deregulation is a good idea for large power users and rip off for the average consumer. The basic result of deregulation is to allow large users of electricity such as factories and big businesses to buy their power directly from the producers and cut out the middle men suppier which is your local utility company. As a result, the local utility losses it's big customers and the revenue it gained from supplying these large users. Now it doesn't make near as much money but it's costs remain the same or even go up because it's not buying as much power to resell any more. Guess who makes up the difference? That's right, the average consumer gets screwed again. Deregulation is con job perpetrated by big money brokers that will make the rich richer at the expense of the working people. Electric utilities use to be and should be public trust that serve society but it's just another big business now. Our society is being run by preditors and the public is the prey. Deregulation is about making it easier, and more profitable to heard the sheep to slaughter, bah, bah.
-- carter (email@example.com), June 24, 2001.
Deregulation in the absence of available competition equals monopoly - always a bad deal for the consumer. How many utility companies do YOU get to choose from when you hook up your electricity? If your answer, like most, is one, get set to be shafted with deregulation.
-- Laura Jensen (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 24, 2001.
Like Tracy, I am also in PA. So far, I haven't seen any decreases in my electric bill - in fact GPU sent out a notice a few weeks ago informing customers that we should expect to see rate increases of up to 35% - claiming that regulation actually held prices at unnaturally low rates, making a true competitive market an impossibility.
In some rural locations in PA, you aren't able to get much choice at all, since the electric is purchased through a special program - ex. Southwestern Pennsylvania Electrical Cooperative - that made power lines available in areas where the large electric companies normally wouldn't have installed them. In other rural locations, the township purchases electric and maintains power lines from the utility for it's residents, and the residents pay the township.
If you are environmentally minded, there's a wonderful company in PA (Green Mountain) that produces it's electric only through wind power. They have been renting/buying land from defunct dairy farms not far from me for the windmills. It's an incredible sight to see.
Overall, the largest problem I see with the deregulation is that it can be difficult to shop for an electric provider. While one company may advertise rates of .085 kWh, another company may charge .046 - BUT will add on so many additional surcharges and service fees that the rate will end up being .087 kWh anyway. You have to look out for misleading rate prices and read the fine print.
I make special efforts to conserve energy - I don't use air conditioners, hairdryers, clothes dryers, etc. and my bill runs about $36 a month. We're adding solar/wood stove hot water in our new place so I expect that to go down even more once I move.
It's too early in the game to really be able to make any kind of accurate determination. Only time will tell, but I haven't seen any special benefits yet.
Maybe if I used more electricity ...
-- Lee (email@example.com), June 25, 2001.
The Federal Governemnt has NO RIGHT to do any more than the Constitution assigns as its job. All other activities of the Federal Government are by definition, illegal. Of course, the politically appointed court system will try to redefine all terms and even to overrule the plainly written words of the Constitution itself. It is up to us, the people, to force the government to keep within the bounds set for it by the fathers of this country. We have sat by far too long already, and have watched it grow into a hideous monster that chokes the life out of the honest poor of this country.
-- daffodyllady (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 25, 2001.
I think in the short term rates will rise but with rising rates competition will come in and prices will come down. I figure lets get the government out of regulating and let free market set the price. Homesteaders want the government to stay away from regulating their place but some want big brother to regulate electrity. I think the less government regulation we have the better.
-- ed (email@example.com), June 25, 2001.
Daffodyllady, does this mean you're in favor of deregulation :)
Here in Orygun, we are going to have "some" dereg early next year (March, I think). Big users will have options, medium and small users will continue to be regulated by PUC.
I'm on a local committee investigating various energy issues in preparation for a public forum (Hendo, you're invited). As part of this, I talked to Christopher Dymond, of the Oregon Office of Energy. He's a way cool guy, very interested in alternative energy, and he thinks the dereg program is the cat's meow.
For one thing, under the new program, utilities will be required to spend 3% of their income (gross? net?) on alternative energy R&D, as opposed to the 1/2 % they are now having to spend. Even better, the WAY this money is allocated will be decided by a citizens board, instead of by the utility itself. The members of this board have already been picked, and Christophe tells me there are some great people on it.
Doesn't really sound all that "deregulated", does it?
I'm still concerned, but at least I'm heartened by this knowledge.
JOJ (Sorry, Daffodyllady, but I have slightly different views about gov't than you do, it seems)
-- jumpoff joe (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 15, 2001.