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A View from the Altar / Edison Electric Institute on Waxman-Markey
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Edison Electric Institute on Waxman-Markey

The electric power industry trade group Edison Electric Institute came out in favor of the Waxman-Markey (W-M) bill.  The stated reasons for this can be found at this link, but the first paragraph repeated the usual drivel about a “low carbon future.”  By now, you can be certain that President Tom Kuhn of EEI knows man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide is just plain bogus.  So why is he leading EEI to go with the flow, especially for a bill that is one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of the country?

It’s hard to say, and my Urim and Thummim are not in working order, so I really can’t divine his motives.  But here’s my speculation.  The electric utility industry believes that the government will eventually, one way or another, forcibly restructure our business.  The reason is that the Democrats are in control right now, and they’re setting up things to retain control for a long time.  One of the things they darn well mean to control is energy.  It’s too big for them to ignore because it touches every facet of modern life.  Control that, and you control everything.  It could be that Mr. Kuhn thinks the W-M bill is the best the industry can do, and that if we wait, the Democrats will consolidate their power and things will only get worse.  If that’s his thinking, he might be right and I might be wrong.

It’s also possible he thinks the green gadget economy will simply make the utilities’ lives easier.  The current utility business model is efficiency based and seeks for the best mix of price and reliability.  That forces utilities to squeeze old power plants to produce more on the same amount of fuel without ever having the lights blink.  It’s a hard job, getting harder all the time with political pressures being applied to carbon dioxide emissions.  It may be that utility executives are thinking the W-M bill will help relieve the relentless pressure for efficiency, which would make their jobs easier, even if the product costs way more and the lights do blink.  After all, there’s nothing they can do if clouds build up over the solar voltaic array or the wind fails to blow on a wind farm.

My final speculation is that the electric power business hasn’t experienced a major overhaul, so they may be figuring there are advantages to be gained if the whole thing is tumped over and restarted from scratch.

Whatever’s is going on at EEI, the public should be smarter than to entrust its energy future to a trade group that believes it has something to gain from the carbon hoax.

And the public should remember a remarkable fact about your current power company: So far, nobody has beat them at what they do.  For many years, it’s been legal in most states for a private company to build a generator, plug it into the grid, and force the transmission authority to buy power from the cheapest provider.  If you can generate power cheaper than your utility, you can literally steal their business, and the law will be on your side.  But so far, there have been remarkably few takers, for one simple reason.  No known technology can make electric power more cheaply and reliably than big nukes, coal burners, gas turbines, and hydroelectric dams.  That’s why your power company still uses them, and that’s why there are no potential competitors.  Green gadgets like windmills and solar arrays are not even close, which is why they need the government to force you to buy their product.

And that’s why you should be telling your senators: Leave well enough alone.  Just say no to Waxman-Markey.  When better technology is developed (as it will be eventually), somebody will build it and plug it into the grid.  The utility will either improve or the guys with the better technology will be the utility.  Freedom works better than coercion.

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