In the early days of America, the founding fathers put their heads together and through conflict, resolution, bloodshed, and a sincere desire to be part of a new world and a new ideal, formed a Republic. As part of their efforts, they promised to protect the people from the violently cruel abuse that had been perpetrated by European rulers and bring about a new nation where [almost] all men were equal and all people could prosper (mostly). But, the wheels of corporate greed and corruption within the political regime had already been spinning. Many of the founding fathers knew it to be true. But, nothing could prepare the newly formed citizens of the so-called, ‘promised land.’ Worse, nothing, to this day, has changed.
And you … are the victim – whether you know it, or not.
One of the most profound examples of capitalist abuse of the masses was not in the slave/child labor of the factories nor was it in the black-slave trade market. The most profound example of capitalist abuse started in the railroad industry. A little recognized fact is the fact that western settlers were largely dependent on the railway system not only for moving themselves, but their cattle and their belongings. The railroad industry knew it – and they used it to their advantage. The largest financiers of the railway system took advantage of millions of people, using hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, the railways continued their profit schemes, monopolizing transportation, discriminating against people, and violating the public trust.
Among the multitude of tragedies that became the ‘United States,’ the railway industry was by far, the very beginning of corporate greed and corruption. And, this brings us to today … right now … where you sit. The computer you’re looking at may very well be helping to build one of the largest corrupt-ors of this modern day. Of course, you might recognize their name better as Berkshire-Hathaway. And, funny enough, around 20% of the Berkshire-Hathaway $182 billion dollar revenue stream comes from – utilities and … yep – railroads.
But, before you trash this article thinking this is just a typical slam against the wealthy, consider the origin and influence of this company (especially as they also bank heavily on insurance and … oh yeah … the ‘forced’ health care or you go to jail plan that was instituted under President Obama’s administration). In his 1935 State-of-the-Union Adress, President Roosevelt called the energy holdings companies by their true name: “evil”. Their influence and power to corrupt and subvert the laws of this country – AGAINST the common people – was literally an act of terrorism by its sheer violation of federal laws.
But – this didn’t stop anything. These so-called holdings companies (aka. Berkshire-Hathaway), continued to grow, to conglomerate, to cheat, and to steal. They utilized government funds to build their transmission lines, benefiting from monopolies that gave them control over every aspect of energy, forcing people into higher-priced markets, taking advantage of their services as people began to rely more and more on energy transmission for their livelihoods. Sound familiar … like the railway companies? It does because it IS. This is the same story told over and over again.
Why does the government try to fight monopolies? It’s not anti-capitalism. It’s not invasion of the common freedoms of the people. It’s to stop the very same principals of abusive tyranny and control that the kings of old Europe used to control the people. But – in the 70’s, there came a glimmer of hope called the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). It was designed to promote individual development of power – specifically in regards to renewable energy. Power companies would not ‘lose’ anything – because all they had to pay to the private power developer was an Avoided Cost Rate. Basically, instead of having to develop the power themselves, the independents could take it over and PacifiCorp would only have to bank on the rest of the money based on the rates that the people paid for power.
Well, at least it was … a neat idea. Of course, as will happen with corporate greed and wealth, it became clear to the utilities that not only were they having to distribute their control, the independent power producers were taking notice of the utility’s abuse of the system. And, of course, the utilities could always produce the power for less? Why? Laying off workers, taking away benefit packages, and paying garbage wages for dirty, coal energy, happily polluting the planet. No … not ‘tree hugging,’ I mean – they have been causing massive, permanent, environmental disasters through mining and plant operations.
Think it doesn’t matter to you? It does. Why? Just take a few minutes of your ever-so-busy life to read how PacifiCorp has been pushing to increase the electricity rates. Think about this: PacifiCorp serves approximately 1.6 million people. PacifiCorp revenues were $5.2 billion in 2014. That’s $3,285 per year, per person … or $273.75 per month, per person. Frankly – that’s a lot of money. Their cost of operations was around $3 billion in 2014. That leaves them with $2.2 billion dollars … or rather, that leaves Berkshire-Hathaway with $2.2 billion dollars. PacifiCorp claims a $169 million dollar profit (in 2013), that they desperately need to upgrade the electricity grid (setting aside the lawsuits and non-stop power problems the company has from mysteriously ‘not’ upgrading the power grid). Their corporate execs, the big 5, pull in over $8 million per year … so – not a lot. Of course, the stock owners … well, that’s $2.2 billion to them. (You’re supposed to ignore the fact that Warren Buffet purchased PacifiCorp, promising not to make it a cash cow, regardless of the multi-billion dollar increase in sales and efforts to increase YOUR electricity bill).
But, in reality, those are only the numbers we ‘see’, and not what really takes place behind the scene. Even the news and media have been bought out by the big guys – after all, just read about how there are too many power companies (a whopping 10 – 12 of them… with already 80% ownership under a single holdings company… and don’t be fooled … co-ops and many energy companies, like ‘Rocky Mountain Power’, are part of another energy company – ie. Rocky being a branch of PacifiCorp) But, here’s the kicker: PacifiCorp wants to END renewable energy projects. Yes … END THEM.
Oh, no – they don’t come right out and pull the trigger – because frankly, you’d notice. They like to do it in little increments. For example, PacifiCorp has been fighting to eliminate 15 year lock-in contracts to 3 years. That way, if the independent power producers who care about the planet start building more, PacifiCorp can just cut off their contracts after 3 years (vs. 15), and bankrupt them. And yes – they have done that. PacifiCorp has been continually reducing the avoided cost rates they have been paying, fighting with the Public Utility Commissions – and winning.
And, now – PacifiCorp wants to end PURPA. Yes – eliminate PURPA, and they don’t have to buy power from anyone. After all, the people of the country LOVE the dirty coal energy that they keep getting at a jacked up rate – NOT. And, why shouldn’t they, after all, it’s not like they don’t do a great job on employment … if you ignore the health safety risks and detriment to their ‘lower echelon’ workers. And, it’s not like they’re going to cheat, steal, or lie from the people or other corporations and help ruin America’s economy … except – when they do.
Of course, if you keep believing the news and media, you’ll see that PacifiCorp is really about the people, and the environment … unless you actually “read” the news and media, and then you can actually see that they’re lying. And, it’s not like they’re going to utilize their monopoly to keep increasing their bottom line while bankrolling you, the people … except that they have been. But, they’re going to keep going, keep buying, keep making illegal monopolies, and keep taking advantage of their power and influence.
Sure, the independent power producers are fighting back – but what do you do against a $5 billion dollar holdings company that has already demonstrated its superiority over government regulations, is clearly in ‘someone’s’ pocket, has monopolies and laws protecting its activities, and the money to keep the little guys spinning in circles indefinitely? Companies are closing in America, left and right. The results … a return to those bygone days of America when the rich were using the poor, when slavery was deemed legal, and when there was nothing you could say or do about it. The power company has been doing this for a very, long time. They’ve justified raising your rates and slamming you for a very, long time.
And, while the little guys fight – and the little guys fail, what do the people do? More commercialism, more sales, more electronics and … you have more people dependent on power. When the power fails – too bad for you. When the grid goes down – it’s on your dime. When the power companies have to tear down their coal plants and environmentally disastrous dams – you’ll pay for it.
But – there is one way. I’ve written this before, and I’ll write it again: money IS power. Remember those financial figures from before? 1.6 million customers paying an average of $273.75 per month. If all 1.6 million were to cut off their power for one month – that would cut out $438 million dollars from Berkshire profits. Of course, the wealthy investors, stock-holders, and regulatory agencies on the power company’s side will tell you: “no, stop, don’t … it’s, um, bad.” But, bad for whom? Them … or you?
So, make your demands and state them clearly:
- Clean Energy projects are a must. And, not projects owned and operated by the monopolizing Berkshire-Hathaway… projects owned by independent power producers who work to make the world a cleaner place for us and generations to come.
- Pay those clean energy companies the RIGHT money – the REAL avoided cost rate. If PacifiCorp rakes in a few billion but only attributes a small portion back to their power company – TOO BAD. An $0.08 cents per kWh rate isn’t so bad … since the power company still makes raw profit and all their taxes and other monies off the top – and they don’t have to do anything for it.
- Lock in those green energy rates for 25 years. But … everytime the power company gets to jack the consumer’s rates – they have to also PAY that much more to the renewable energy companies.
- Lock in the consumer rates. Just because they want their hedge funds to make billions and their corporate execs to make tens of millions doesn’t mean the people have to suffer. After all – the power company gets the BENEFIT of a monopoly and the BENEFIT of government laws that keep free transmitted power (Tesla style) from actually being used. Wouldn’t YOU like that kind of protection? Wouldn’t YOU love to have guaranteed income and laws that would imprison people if they even came close to taking away a single penny? Shouldn’t YOU demand the same of the power utilities?
- Control how PacifiCorp grows and charges renewable energy companies and consumers for installation work. After all, PacifiCorp is infamous for trapping people with terms like “load pockets“, trying to force outside companies to do the work and STEALING jobs from the local economy! A little regulation is in order.
- Or – how about taking away the utility’s monopoly – or even their ability to make power anymore? Let the independents completely take over and the utility only run the grid … then what will their excuse be when infrastructure fails? Supporting independents having the right to be full-fledged utilities selling power direct to you could even save you money on your bills! (competition is healthy)!
There’s plenty of information out there to learn from and plenty of ways to get involved. Demand your political representatives provide complete disclosure of their finances and are not ‘investors’ in the Berkshire-Hathaway/government protected/enforced spending machine. Otherwise – that’s a conflict of interest and I’m pretty sure there are laws about that as an inside source. You can contact attorneys who fight for the rights of the people and the independent producers, adding your voice to the issue!
Or … you can stay ignorant. You love working – all the time, right? You love spending all your money on power just to be able to enjoy some basic necessities …like heat, don’t you? And, you love to see the environment thrashed so you can’t even go outside anymore? Or … is that … not you? But, hey – stand by and keep paying those tax dollars and supporting the big machine like the original citizens of this country and one day – you’ll be stomped all over. I can’t make this up – read the links in this article and see for yourself!
Sure – there are plenty of fights to get involved with and plenty of things in the world to worry about – but only a few involve you personally and there are even fewer you can do anything about. This – just happens to be one of them – if you care enough to … care.