Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Got Power?

Or do mega interstate utilities have it all? Do you *remember* local municipal utilites? They answered to the people locally, and profit was not their primary concern. Keeping utilities *working* was the primary concern. Today we have to deal with large conglomerates who got their monoplies by buying elections.


You can read here about how Boulder is fighting to take their "power back" to get an idea of what your local politician is up against when you call to complain, "My power is STILL out, and I CAN'T take my business elsewhere!" When we were mistreated by our gas company this summer, a HUGE multistate conglomertion that is based in North Carolina, I called my Congressman. He told me "we're working for consumer choice!" That is was I was told 20 years ago, the last time I called. Silly me. I didn't realize that what I was supporting at the time was the deregulation that would give mega business the power to push local providers out of the market. Now I know better. He's been working on "consumer choice" since before we called, and he is still working on it. But still our only choice is this one mega monopoly that cares more about saving a dollar or two than about us taking icy showers for a whole weekend. And if I leave it to Congress and to the state of Massachusetts, with the way politics works today, that *isn't* going to change.

The power companies would like you to believe these outages are as long as they are because of the mess the storms cause. The answer to their delay is simple: Keep a larger stand by staff. Oh, they will tell you that that will raise everyone's rates! But the truth of it is, when you have as many customers as they do, the amount of money they lose the week or or you and your neighbors have no power costs them far less than the cost of keeping more workers on standby. And besides that, do you really care if your power bill is a dollar less a month, if to save that buck you have to risk the week (or more!) of power loss in the act of God lottery we are all forced to play in now?

We lost power for 30 hours after Tropical Storm Irene, and we didn't get the worst of the power interruptions. Some people, who lost power for a week or more, and are fed up, are exploring what the People of Boulder are now struggling and scrapping to do in the face of the big money and dirty tricks of their current private provider. Ah! Such innocence!


Did you miss this story in the corporate run media? I can't imagine why a media industry that garners so much ad revenue from mega utilities, "America's Coal" and "America's Natural Gas" would so thoroughly ignore stories that if widely reported would quickly see an end to their sponsors strangle hold on our service, and the implementation of sustainable, locally produced power.

When the local community runs the utilities, profit is no longer the primary concern. Servicing the people in the way the People want is. You prefer to not use so much coal? You would have a choice if your local community ran your utlities. And back before deruglation (Thanks again, Ronald Reagan... and Bush I... And Clinton!) people had a lot more say in how things were run, and how power was maintained in the face of natural disasters. The people of Boulder have the right idea, but it is about so much more than implementing renewables. It is about knowing the people who make your energy and your energy policy. It is about getting your power *back on* in a far more reasonable amount of time. This is a 99% issue, too. The people making these desicions that leave *you* in the dark (and cold!) for so long are the people who are given repair priority, *or* have whole house back up generators in their posh abodes, or both!

When you are done moving your money, prepare yourselves to take your power back from the mega energy corps, who not only don't answer to the People, they no longer answer to our legistlators.

Power to the People, literally.

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