PG&E is Enron all over again

Discussion in 'Energy' started by 101101, Oct 12, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

  1. 101101

    101101 Active Member

    We need to go to a community coop model as we already do with most of the rural US and take the rest of it back public or best of all go to battery backed roof top solar for most of it as Tony Seba's "God point" when the cost of transmission relative to generation is a is a dead on accuracy.

    Some of the following is bound to be inaccurate and I am no expert but this is what it looks like:

    1. PG&E customers pay at least 370% more than rural coop customers per kilowatt hour and 2200% more per kwh hour than new utility scale battery backed solar which is at 1.1 cents a kwh. Why?!!!

    2. PG&E does not actually compete it has a local monopoly and when it is forced to compete it makes the idiotic argument that it has the right to off load the costs of lost revenue onto remaining rate payers that can't afford to switch based on the even more idiotic and really criminal argument that it as a for profit company that is guaranteed a 10% return by law (law vs crime) for its rent seeker (credit card you can't pay off unnecessary investors) when all it has really done is jack up prices out of all proportion to inflate that guaranteed margin and used its ill-gotten power of private taxation to enrich fat cats while neglecting the grid such that with the difference lost on ripping off almost half of all Californians we could have had all our lines undergrounded by now and still saved a ton. We can surely see that PG&Es returns must have been something like 270% even if it didn't pay taxes on that. Now we see PG&E throwing around the likely super inflated claim that undergrounding would cost 150 billion- guessing we could reduce that by a factor of 18 and come up with about 8 billion and make it eat that, but then it couldn't hit us with supplier strikes reducing is power to hold the state hostage. For instance note that undergrounding is said to be about 3x as expensive as over heading but they continue to do it despite the risk- notice he 3x factor over rural electric kind of like he 3.7x factor?

    3. PG&E still has at least 15% natural gas in its power mix. That should have been gone long ago. Of course it should have dismantled is gas burning electric plants (even new ones) but it should have had to pay to covert its gas line customers and it never should have been in on the scam of telling gas customers they had to pay for and insure its lines on their properties and not ever been allowed to try to jack up grid tie fees. It also shouldn't be able to buy imported power when we have the scam of claiming we have a green glut of solar under the duck curve when we actually have a glut of sky high fossil fuels that they are trying to subsidize by not capturing that peak solar with storage. And the chunk that it presumably imports has no transparency on its mix which means it is probably all radically higher permanently higher increasingly orders of magnitude higher dirty fossil fuels.

    4. Why is it up to a for profit company to use its greedy profit calculations to decide whether to damage to disrupt lives and damage the state's economy through power shut offs that could quite possibly be a retaliatory supplier strike when it should never ever have been making any kind of profit in the absence of actual competition- at worst it should have been a bond measure (not a good idea even as a inflation/deflation hedge) and not an ongoing scam involving profits. Not only that it was allowed to use its for profit (private tax powers) to advertise and lobby against the public interest so even if this was one of those idiotic public private partnerships which always go bad (look at the defense industry which is the best case) it was clearly going bad and is another example of why we should never allow PPPs- they are the bad form of socialism and we don't need that kind of corporate welfare as glue going forward in a post labor (and by implication post capital) society. PG&E is just another useless private toll road that destroys the commons and can't be justified on the stupid 'tragedy of the commons' claims nor on the ridiculous theories put forward by Coase on utilities- look instead to Hoteling. No, we have to look at the social utility of parasites and then say no to it, when we allow gain for no actual contribution that is theft- which means we can't look at youth or people in their old age or the everyday people who actually generated the nation's wealth and to whom without exception it belongs, but we can look at defunct whip cracking rent seekers who were paid off long ago for any actual albeit nominal contribution and now just have to look at their culpability and debt (due with interest for lost opportunity cost) for decades of net negative non contribution. We have to correct this error in distribution and claw back the ill-gotten gain through disgorgement and there should be no statute of limitations.

    continued next post
  2. 101101

    101101 Active Member

    5. PG&E apparently argued that its only obligation was to its share-holders. Why weren't the people making that argument held in contempt? We hear this compete idiot argument that they have a duty to maximize profit for shareholders. NO! No one that can think would ever accept that under any circumstances- all they have is a duty to not cheat on their taxes by understating their profits- that is all the profit maximizer double speak actually means or could ever mean. But you can see when gas is 6x more expensive even with endless massive subsidies (hidden and otherwise) than battery backed solar (and where utility scale will never ultimately be the cheapest relative to roof top) and where green will go to 1/1000 cent a kwh and where you can see for a while now they have surely by appearances been radically understating their profit haul which would presumably amount to evading taxes while neglecting their public facing role apparently resulting in preventable deaths and massive harm to the state, seems like the veil should be pierced but more than that they should be subject forms to forms of claw back.

    6. Seems the PG&E case is being heard in a bend over for corporations state. With stuff like this it should not matter where the corporation is incorporated it should be heard by a CA court. CA should have a policy that it will not allow companies that are incorporated outside of CA to do business in this state for this reason! That may be the kind of thing that puts highway funds at risk but we presumably aren't getting justice because of it so the solution is roof top battery backed solar and coop owned lines and public or state owned utilities. We don't need useless parasitic rent seeking in the mix.

    It seems a lot of the current problems the country is facing come from not doing what it should have done with Nixon and not doing what it should have done with Enron and 911 and fossil fuel rent seeking in general which needs to be eliminated. It might be possible to be charitable and say that some of these people were trying to invest in energy independence and trying to recover sunk costs (a stretch for sure given what the industry knew about warming and better options since the 70s but really back to the 50s) but in the aftermath especially with the fossil fuel derivatives collapse of 08 and in the can kicking that ensued our legal and political systems failed us. We need to start looking at the fossil fuel industry as organized crime, we need to end its rent seeking and permanently outlaw its profit and criminalize further investment by firms that do business in the US in fossil fuels and we need to fully support boycott divestment of fossil fuels and remove any green tariffs but instead tariff fossil fuels. It is vital that people with fossil fuel sunk costs absorb their just desert losses as a dissuasive and as a punitive element for making stupid reckless investments- you can't say you can profit from damaging people's health and putting everyone at existential risk, that is never a case where it is too big to do something about or too big to fail- that situation requires the failure of the people responsible for it.

    Even if there were no global warming the political economy of fossil fuel rent seeking would mean it needed to end just as quickly because it implies a world based on slavery and totalitarian rule. Ending fossil fuels is the new civil rights because fossil fuels oligarchs are seeking the same right to exploit that Jefferson Davis sought to keep Southern Slavery alive.

    These black outs just as with the Enron related natural gas black outs appear to be supplier strikes. PG&E went bankrupt post Enron and since has become one of CA's greenest suppliers (but it hasn't nixed the cancerous gas portion) but the goal is to jack up the rates for electricity to harm electric cars and further fleece rate payers and damaged green politicians. These black outs appear to be part of campaign of harassing the state just as with the attempt to stop it from setting emissions limits and the attempt to use anti-trust against companies that agreed to follow reducing emissions the attempt to withhold highway funds over supposed clean air and water violations when the accusing entity is attempting to take the money and authority to address these issues away and when the state was generally at the forefront of addressing these issues. Its a case of extreme out in the open hypocrisy and apparent pure corruption it is the Bush years all over again trying to foist the same lines of BS in world electronically set to erupt in a volcano of whistle blowing and transparency- the bill is coming due. They keep trying to push a radically over-priced fossil fuel product the world the world doesn't need any more and where the truth is apparent with Saudi Arabia trying to sell off all of its oil in a hurry and super tankers empty on half their transoceanic trips where before they were full both ways now they are filled with water half the time.

    With the savings and loans scandals there were something like 32000 prosecutions (amazing huh?) But with Enron which was a much bigger deal there were only about 30 or so and with the fossil fuels derivatives collapse there were something like 8 and none went anywhere.

    So in the end with PG&E we don't need the investment component because the toll road model is just theft, it doesn't really contribute anything. At worst it should have just been bond measures. And there should never be profit in the absence of actual competition, that's just more rent seeking thieving. And no public entity like a pension fund should ever be allowed to invest in this (a bad idea generally- its inbred) and it should not be allowed to advertise (on captive public money) or lobby (lobbying is a bad idea in general but it should never be allowed in the absence of competition) and it should just be told its going green or just common sense opinion seems like it really should face injunction and receivership to make it happen. And the public should get the huge costs reductions tossing those rent seekers should rightfully entail. The deflationary arguments should be tossed to- too damn bad!!!

    But right now PG&E is facing a chop shop guy who wants to knock it around and liquidate it. That is great as long as the green assets are not harmed and are rolled over into true public providers (that take no private money and no investors or any of that BS) and or given to coops (where the utility customers own and control he utility outright) and everyone else is free to disconnect go green and harden with no penalty and no stupid jacked up grid fees. Wall St and the criminal fossil fuel industry need be told their money is no good in California.

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