It really doesn't matter what happens at the federal level. The real destruction of America is being done at the state level. Money can be spent much more efficiently at the state level. Those with the money are using there power to crush those without at a level that much more directly affects their lives. Meanwhile they are happy just to paralyze the national government.  

Electric choice is a triumph of ideology over fairness and rationality.

In the 1930's electric power became universally available thanks to the Roosevelt programs including the building of hydroelectric projects, the Rural Electrification Act, and programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority.  

As a legacy of that era the Nashville Electric Service contains this quaint statement about electric rates:

NES energy rates are set and regulated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  All residential customers in the NES service area pay the same electric rate regardless of social status, income, or place of residence.

These men built a universally available electric power system. It provided a base for economic recovery and the industrial growth in the 1950's. It provided power to rural areas and allowed the jobs and convenience of a multitude electric powered appliances to the entire nation.  

Now that the system has been built lazy entitled people are turning it into a system to rip off all but the wealthy and powerful. It is part of the extractive economy we now live under which takes from those who produce services and products and gives it to the least principled and most greedy.

Spreading from the land of Enron comes electric choice which works on the time honored principle of:

"We cheat the other guy and pass the savings along to you."
Proposed Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1121 takes this bad system makes it much worse.  

More below:

With Electric Choice the old power companies become "Electric Distribution Companies" (EDC). Then there are Electric Generation Suppliers (EGS). EGS's are:  

A person or corporation, including municipal corporations which choose to provide service outside their municipal limits ... brokers and marketers, aggregators or any other entities, that sell to end-use customers electricity or related services utilizing the jurisdictional transmission and distribution facilities of an EDC, or that purchase, broker, arrange or market electricity or related services for sale to end-use customers utilizing the jurisdictional transmission and distribution facilities of an EDC.
If you say you are an Electric Supplier you are. If you actually get anyone to buy it you can figure out how to get electricity later. The great thing is you don't have to reveal the price being charged. Just get yourself a login as a generation and the EDS will send you data and information on default customers. Then get a phone and start harassing Pennsylvania residents. Make sure you tell them how lazy and ignorant they are for staying with the default rate. A Texas drawl is preferred but not required.

There are many ways to make money off of this new market. There are websites which sell space advertising space for electric choice.  Startups are being acquired.  Electric power is being monetized. Credit default swaps type instruments must figure in there somewhere.

The goal is confuse and chop up the residential customers and see how can extract the most money.  Where the Public Utility Commission used to have the hard work of negotiating with the big power companies they now are happy to leave them one there own to sort through up to a hundred different companies with unreadable contracts to sign. A skilled computer users with basic spreadsheet skills, having a couple of days to spend each year on carefully examining terms and conditions can keep their increases in costs for electricity down to ten or twenty percent. Less cautious people have received bills double or triple  what they had paid.

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1121 would require customers to choose a new electricity supplier and would give them $50 for doing so. Those who do not switch would be put into an auction, and suppliers would court them for their service. If the bill passes, it would go into effect in June 2015.

“We’re looking at new ways to move the needle on competition,” said Powelson.

Texas has been the leader in the U.S. for retail electricity choice for years. In DEFG’s 2014 report, the state scored a 92 out of 100, with Pennsylvania ranked second with a score of 64. Other states are also seeing an increase in competition. Illinois had more than 3 million customers switch their suppliers last year, up from about 500,000 in 2012.

Most residential customers do not want to sign up with new electric suppliers. This does not sit well with the electric company minions in the legislature. They have proposed a bill to force electric companies on those who refuse to leave the big old companies.

A Senate bill combines bad electric policy with bad fiscal policy to make sure everyone participates in their scheme. The bill sells each non switched customer to EGS's for $100 or $150. They project this will be a one time windfall of $300 million dollars to the state. This will allow Governor Corbett to reduce the state deficit for one year while being able to leave the systemic budget problems for a successor to deal with. Truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Pennsylvania Senate Bill SB 1121 is sponsored by the following Senators:

Bob Mensch (R-24)
Michael Waugh (R-28)
John Yudichak (D-14)
Donald White (R-41)
Mike Folmer (R-48)
Jake Corman (R-34)
David Argall (R-29)
Richard Alloway (R-33)
John Blake (D-22)

Originally posted to Ron Aker on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 06:23 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Community Spotlight.

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