Power to the People
By Scott Galindez of People for Community Empowerment
When Gov. Pete Wilson signed legislation to deregulate the Power industry, the people of California turned their power over to out of State companies like Enron, and AES. The legislation forced California based utilities like PG&E and Edison to sell off their means of production and become providers dependent on other companies to produce the electricity.
The Enron Corporation, a Texas based company that worked closely with Vice President Dick Cheney to build Enron Field in Houston, and was the number one contributor to Bush/Cheney 2000 was set up for just a situation. With a few exceptions Enron isn’t a Producer of Electricity, they are primarily a reseller with an operation that resembles the stock market. They buy up electricity on the open market and then re-sell for whatever the market bears.
AES, “the Global Power Company” owns and/or operates power plants in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Georgia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela.
Deregulation forced Edison to sell their Huntington Beach, Alamitos, and Redondo Beach Plants to AES. There are allegations that AES and the other out of state companies that came in have purposely lowered their production to raise the price they can charge for the electricity that their out of State companies produce and put on the open market.
Another advantage the power emergencies provide to companies like AES is that during alerts they are allowed to burn cheap sulfur oil, and turn on older generators that don’t meet current emission standards. So every time we have rolling blackouts providers like AES pocket more money with increased production, and resellers like Enron jack up their prices because they know California has to buy at any price.
If you're a residential or small business ratepayer of Edison, PG&E or SDG&E, you've already paid billion in extra electricity charges thanks to deregulation. Now you're about to be hit with another billion in rate increases. Deregulation has failed, and the utility companies that pushed deregulation -- and prospered from it -- now want California ratepayers to bail them out.
Opposition to these energy rip-offs is on the rise. The State Federation of the AFL-CIO has launched their Rolling Blackmail Campaign and has already delivered eminent domain notices to out of state owned plants in Oakland, Fresno and Huntington Beach and are planning several more similar actions during the next 2 months.
In Southern California a coalition consisting of local groups has formed to hold a July 4th Parade in Long Beach to the Alamitos power plant owned by AES. The plant which was finned 17 million dollars last December for violating emission standards. That was the largest fine ever given to any energy provider, yet they still made an obscene profit! For more information go to