[Ok-sus] Libertarian Riff on Clean Energy Tariff

Harlan Hentges harlan at organiclawyers.com
Thu May 1 15:47:00 UTC 2014

The Clean Energy Tariff is for monopolists (investor owned utilities) whom
politicians protect from the free market by guaranteeing them a profit.
Monopolists are experts at running a socialized electricity system, but this
system obsolete because there is no longer a monopoly on electricity. Living
without a grid connection is a reality, not an eclectic dream. For some it
is a practical situation. For others it is a prudent hedge against high
prices and outages. The Clean Energy Tariff interferes with these free
market decisions, to insure  profits for monopolists. At best this tariff
redistributes wealth from private citizens to monopolists. At worst, it
discourages citizens from preparing prudently for inevitable higher prices
and outages.   





From: Ok-sus [mailto:ok-sus-bounces at lists.oksustainability.org] On Behalf Of
Kelley C Smith
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9:30 PM
To: ok-sus at lists.oksustainability.org
Subject: Re: [Ok-sus] Right Wing Riff on Clean Energy Tariff


I would never say that investor-owned utilities would not wish to limit
competition, but what about this:


Investor-owned utilities (IUOUs) are not government supported in the sense
that they receive any sort of subsidy, and they do pay taxes.

IOUs have been granted a franchise to operate in a specified location by a
"vote of the people" (I know that's something of a stretch, but it is

In return, IOUs are guaranteed business .. no one else can sell electricity
there. Yes, it's a monopoly, a regulated monopoly. Prices are set by the
Corporation Commission in Oklahoma. Other states have some similar
regulatory agencies. 

IOUs are obligated to serve the load in whatever jurisdiction in which they
have been granted a franchise. If once every three months, a cement company
turns on a rock crusher for 15 minutes, and the rock crusher guzzles 2 MW of
power, the IOU  is obligated to serve that load.  


Now, on the other hand


IOUs tend to load up any and all junk they can into "rate base" (the amount
of assets on which their allowable return is computed)

IOUs have been big fossil fuel burners, and this has been bad for all of us.

They are for-profit corporations, and their legal responsibility is to their
shareholders, just like any corporation.


So, if we all want a "free  market" we have to do something about the
granting of franchises to IOUs. This would be a complicated thing to
dismantle. I would be interested to know what ideas people have for an
alternative systems, but this has to involve some really long-term thinking.




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