When Deregulation - Actually Makes Things Worse
Don’t Just Do Something - Stand There
The joint I run - is called Less Government. Which means whenever possible - we want less government.
But Reality - is Reality. Sometimes a little government is required.
Which is why the joint I run - isn’t called No Government.
We readily acknowledge - government is awful at everything. But there are a few, very rare occasions - when there are things worse than government involvement.
A quick biggie? Our nation’s borders. A little government at our borders - is a VERY good thing. (A little more - is even better.)
Sometimes the facts on the ground - necessitate a little government.
And so it is with our electricity service.
Shopping for electricity - isn’t like shopping for, say, a car.
There is a near limitless number of outlets from which to purchase your vehicle.
There is one - and only one - electricity line into your home.
So electricity deregulation creates an inexorable bottleneck - once the providers get to your house.
I love this analogy - provided for us by Frank Cirillo, an official with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in Connecticut:
“It's like a million people at a Stop N' Shop (a convenience store) and there is one (expletive) cashier.”
Gotta love the colorful picture he’s painting. As genius comedian Steve Hughes said about another brilliant choice of words:
“What it lacks in sophistication and depth - it makes up for wholeheartedly with a delightful clarity, don’t you think?”
This mass of providers - rushing to one choke point outside your house - also diffuses the customers’ ability to affix blame when something goes awry:
“While supporters claim this would introduce competition and could lower energy bills, similar measures in other states, including Texas, actually resulted in a spike in both household energy costs and consumer complaints.”
Complaints increased - because when something breaks multiple companies point at each other in an attempt to pass off blame…and nothing ever actually gets fixed.
And investment in the infrastructure drops - because everyone waits for everyone else to pony up. Which means no one ever ponies up.
Again, we know this is a terrible idea - because it’s already been tried in places like Texas.
Ask Texas About Deregulated Electricity Markets. Prices Soared in Heat Wave:
“Just last week the Texas grid operator issued emergency warnings and called on all Texans to conserve energy so they could avoid blackouts.
“So what happened? In a surprise to no one, it got hot in Texas and wholesale electric prices soared 36,000 percent (that’s not a typo) to more than $9,000.”
“(I)t was also hot (it’s August), (but) there were no emergency declarations and wholesale electric prices at FPL hovered around a whopping $20.
“Adequate supply and steady prices at $20 or shortages and price spikes that go over $9,000, that’s one of the big differences between deregulated and rate-regulated markets.”
I live in southwest Florida. I lived in Austin, Texas. Florida wins the Hot Contest. Not because of the heat - but because of the swamp-imposed humidity.
And yet Florida is handling the August hotness - and Texas is not.
This bad idea has engendered the rarest of political occurrences - bipartisanship. In fact - omni-partisanship.
Florida Energy Choice Ballot Initiative Attacked From All Corners
Florida League of Cities Officially Declares Energy Choice Initiative ‘Deceptive and Misleading’
Florida Urban Leagues Denounce ‘Deceptive’ Energy Choice Amendment
Florida Chamber of Commerce Sounds Alarm Bell Over Energy Choice Initiative
Florida Congressional Members Latest to Oppose ‘Energy Choice’ Amendment:
“A full 24 Florida members of (the US) Congress (12 Democrats and 12 Republicans), however, vigorously oppose the measure, as they wrote in a letter to (Florida) Attorney General Ashley Moody Friday.”
Unfortunately, we have not yet reached total unanimity on this.
One of the very many things of which to make fun when contemplating Leftists - is their steadfast imperviousness to facts and history. To wit:
“Communism has only murdered 100 million people - let’s give it another shot.”
Unfortunately, sometimes the Free-Market-Uber-Alles types - too forget to remember history.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Bring Competition to Florida’s Electricity Market
No, it would not. See (amongst many other places): Texas.
You know who doesn’t seem to have missed history? Florida’s ballot-eligible residents.
‘Energy Choice’ Amendment Unpopular with Florida Voters:
“Only two in five voters back the proposed amendment.”
Let’s hope it stays that way.
Or gets even more one-sided against.
This first appeared in Red State.