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Grandpa, tell me the story why our electric bills are so high--Bailout Watch #53

by The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights Sunday, Jun. 17, 2001 at 12:01 AM

California's long-term contracts lock in the energy crisis for another ten to twenty years.

FTCR_53

Grandpa, tell me the story of why our electric bills are so high
Bailout Watch #53 Thursday June 14, 2001
      By The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights (FTCR)
  California's long-term contracts lock in the energy crisis for another ten to twenty years, with prices three to five times above spot market prices. The energy crisis isn't over, and won't be, until California regains control of its electricity supply.

Grandpa, tell me the story of why our electric bills are so high.



The long term energy contracts revealed by the LA Times lock in the energy crisis for another ten to twenty years.


The energy crisis isn't over. The long term energy contracts revealed by the LA Times lock in the energy crisis for another ten to twenty years. Despite the fact that power production plus a fair profit costs about -/Mwh for an average plant, the state negotiators have committed ratepayers to purchasing power for as much as 4/MwH for decades. Not only is the average price of the contracts (ranging from -0/MwH per year) more expensive than power in previous years, but it is actually more expensive than power costs today on the "market," (see below). Unless these contracts are invalidated or abrogated by the state, we'll spend the next decade or two watching ourselves get ripped off by the energy bandits who got the deal of the century "back in the ol' days, round about the energy crisis of 2001, sonny."



For the next decade, at least, we are slated to pay three to five times more per megawatt-hour.


Just compare the contracts to prices in previous years:

  • On May 15, 2000 power sold for a weighted average price of .01/mwh and ranged that day from .35-.98
  • On January 16, 2000 it sold for a weighted average price of .61/mwh
  • August 15, 1999 : .41/mwh

It is the same power. It comes from the same plants. But for the next decade, at least, we are slated to pay three to five times more per megawatt-hour. For the ratepayer it means the recent 49% rate hikes are here to stay, with more to come.

The Big Blink?



Last week, the "market" price collapsed from around 0 to as low as , and not because the weather changed. Call it Regulating by Threat.










No, the energy crisis is not over, and won't be, until California regains control of its electricity supply.


The fact that the robber barons will be picking our pockets for a generation (if these contracts hold up) does not mean that the energy companies aren't running just a bit scared. Last week, the "market" price collapsed from around 0 to as low as , and not because the weather changed. The energy companies insist that "The market is working!" That's their explanation. Gee, we think the suddenly reasonable pricing might have more to do with (1) US Justice Dept. broadening its investigation of natural gas manipulation by El Paso and (2) issuing supbpoenas of wholesaler Williams for conspiring to limit plant construction in California, (3) Attorney General Lockyer convening a grand jury to issue indictments, (4) passage of windfall profits tax bill by Cal. Senate, (5) Gov. signing bill to create state public power agency, (6) threats of plant seizures, and (7) US Senate, in Dems' hands, pushing wholesale price control legislation. You might call it Regulating by Threat.

No, the energy crisis is not over, and won't be, until California regains control of its electricity supply. Like outlaws in the Wild West, the energy companies see the Sheriff coming, and they're headin' for the hills. They'll lie low for awhile, but unless they're hunted down and brought to justice, they'll be back. You can bet on it.

The Fed's plan is lousy.



Even FERC is thinkin' o' blinkin'. Unfortunately, their plan still leaves us with ridiculously-over priced electricity.


Indeed, even FERC is thinkin' o' blinkin'. When California deregulated, we handed authority to regulate wholesale rights over to the ideological goofballs in DC. Unfortunately, their plan

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