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Feb 08, 2013

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Spag

Actually yeah, it is unrelated. Or you can pretend that Duke never asked for a rate increase before McCrory took office.

Gee those Republican governors suck.

Worst person on the Internet

Piss squirt-and-run blogging at it's best, all the time. Gotta love it.

Ed Cone

Governors appoint Utilities Commissioners. How is this Governor's long and deep relationship with Duke irrelevant to the conversation?

Any thoughts on the proposed rate hike, or the plans it is meant to fund?

Andrew Brod

Not only do governors appoint utilities commissioners, but this particular governor may have the opportunity to sign a bill into law that, among other things, would dismiss all members of the NCUC regardless of whether their terms have ended. So this particular governor may get to appoint more utilities commissioners in a very short period of time than any other governor in recent memory.

That seems relevant too.

polifrog

Ed:

How is this Governor's long and deep relationship with Duke irrelevant to the conversation?


How does regulation not give rise to these sorts of concerns over government/corporate cooperation?

It seems to me that the same people who call for regulation bemoan the result.

David Wharton

All the upgrades Duke Energy lists result in less pollution and fewer carbon emissions. So my questions are, (1) aren't those good things? Nobody actually thought cleaner, greener energy would actually be cheaper, did they? Or, (2) is Duke charging us too much for this stuff, and enriching executives and shareholders at consumers' expense? If your answer to (2) is 'yes', can somebody link to an analysis of the numbers?

Worst person on the internet

I don't know the answer to that David, but expect any forthcoming to contain the word "seems".

Ed Cone

Good questions, DW. Always helpful to frame these things as you have, in terms of value.

As with the constructive local process on Duke's tree-cutting, it helps to remember that pretty much all of us like a steady flow of electricity, and that it involves various costs, including financial ones, and that not every cost for even desirable things is worth paying.

justcorbly

Frog, you aren't imagining that, without regulation, we would have a power industry full of corporations busily competing for the consumer's dollars, one where we shop by price and change supplier when it pleased us?

I'm not much for regulation when a genuinely open and competitive market exists. But, selling electricity seems, like many other sectors, to be one of those that devolve to oligopolies or regional monopolies. (Something Adam Smith remarked on, you'll recall.) I'm all for regulating that kind of market because it's setup to work against consumer interests.

That will be the situation in the power industry as long as technology rewards the creation of huge and hugely expensive power generation facilities that provide enough power for millions of people.

polifrog

What I'm saying, justcorbly, is that if you like nice regulations, the price for them is that you may not like the regulator, the regulated, the combination of the two or even the results.

Tough. That's the price for nice regulations.

justcorbly

>>"That's the price for nice regulations."

True.

All things are regulated, though, one way or another. If Duke didn't need to ask permission from government regulators, it would just act as its own regulator.

Ed Cone

Right, corbs, because these things are like forces of nature over which we have no control, not rules set by public bodies subject to transparency, oversight and correction. The only choice if you don't like a regulator or regulation is to accept it or get rid of all regulations, duh.

formerly gt

duke also has a pretty cozy relationship with the obama admin. so, i guess they are in a pretty good position with both parties. that is unless mccrory doesn't turn out to be a sleaze like easley or incompetent like perdue.

and it's hard to believe they'd get more favorable treatment by this admin than by the previous dem govs.

someone is going to have to refresh my memory, did Ed or his fellow progressives focusing one-tenth as much attention on Perdue or Easley in their first year as governor?

polifrog
The only choice if you don't like a regulator or regulation is to accept...

Not hearing that here at all.

Gerry Alfano

NC Warn, a non-profit working for climate protection, is trying to get Governor McCrory to recuse himself from appointing utilities commissioners. I don't there is any doubt that someone who worked for Duke Energy for 20 plus years and whose salary was paid by them so that he could be a full time mayor would appoint commissioners who are very supportive of Duke Energy. The NC Utilities Commission is already pretty weak when it comes to regulating Duke Energy. Duke Enegry should have been using some of their considerable profits for upgrades and maintenance.

polifrog

justcorbly:

All things are regulated, though, one way or another. If Duke didn't need to ask permission from government regulators, it would just act as its own regulator.

So, because Duke is monopoly it must be regulated?

Tell that to ESSO or A&P. Monopolies can be broken, power lines treated like the phone lines have been and an end time wasting conversations over McCrory's "long and deep relationship with Duke" had.

But it's more than that, we are expending energy as a society on something that could be automated through personal choice for the illusion of control.

justcorbly

>>"So, because Duke is monopoly it must be regulated?"

Yep.

The interest of businesses -- increase profit -- is directly hostile to the interest of buyers -- decrease spending. Competition spurred in the market mitigates this conflict. But, vested interests and technology and the influence of scale push many industries toward oligopoly and monopoly. (Plus, it's in the interest of business to trash the market and end competition.) Generation and distribution of electrictiy is one of them. It will be until all have solar cells on the roof and reactors in the basement. And we can't exactly run an extension cord to the next non-Duke state.

Sure, monopolies can fall, although that's less likely when the monopoly exists with the state's blessings and support (See Time-Warner cable). Anyway, the disappearance of one monopoly doesn't mean it will be replaced by an abundance of players in an actual market. Esso vanished, to be replaced by more filling stations owing fealty to a few members of the oil oligopoly. A&P vanished, to be replaced by stores operated by bigger corporate food sellers, not by real independent grocers.

In a democracy, the welfare of the many (buyers) takes precedence over the interests of the few (sellers). When a real, functional, market does not exist, government regulation is essential.

polifrog

ESSO and A&P did not "vanish", they were broken up and forced to compete, in a sense, with themselves and neither monopoly reconstituted itself as you suggest monopolies do. There is no reason the same can not be done with Duke.

Extension cord? Micro power generation? There is no need for either on a shared network of power lines. Power companies currently sell power to one another, no extension cords needed because power is transferred through a network. And each of us are on that network, no last mile needed.

When that is true, there is no reason for any power company not to sell power to any individual anywhere ... except for nice regulations that bar it ... nice regulations that create false monopolies ... nice monopolies that politicians and power companies benefit from.

It wasn't always like this, but it is today.

But hey, we get to stand around the water cooler and question not only who gets to do the regulating, but whose pocket they are in, and whether we will be victimized by a system in which we have given up all consumer power (choice).

Know this. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by Ed's preferred chatter regarding energy we will be as ineffectual tomorrow as we are today.

Spag

I remember when Duke asked for a rate hike during the term of former Duke exec Nikki Haley.

Of course if Duke does get it's rate increase it will ipso facto be because Pat McCrory has strong ties to Duke and packed the Utilities Commission with his own people.

But wait.

This is almost like complaining about wiretapping U.S. citizens, waterboarding, and detaining suspected terrorists in Gitmo while ignoring drone strikes against suspected terrorists including U.S. citizens.

The only difference is the political party of the person enacting the policy. But don't point that out lest you be accused of viewing everything through a partisan lens despite that being the only rational conclusion.

Same story, different day.

polifrog

I said:

It wasn't always like this, but it is today.

Sorry, that above bit was vague in my previous comment.

What I mean by it is that the ability to network electricity was not always with us. Before that ability became reality the next best option was the state regulated monopoly system we still suffer under today.

Worst Person on the Internet

@ Spag,
They are making this way too easy, like fish in a barrel. They keep doubling down, and don't even attempt to disguise it or even fight back anymore. Is it possible they are just lampooning the worst of liberalism (as they used to faux-postulate about Polifrog the other way) and the joke's on us? It's gotten deathly quiet around here. I would fear an ambush, except they have no ammunition.

Roch

"I haven't stated my position on Obama's policy yet." -- Sam

"This is almost like complaining about wiretapping U.S. citizens, waterboarding, and detaining suspected terrorists in Gitmo while ignoring drone strikes against suspected terrorists including U.S. citizens." -- Sam

I see. For you, not stating an opinion on drone strikes is a get out of jail free card; for everyone else, it's an indictment.

Got it.

Spag

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

If I was actually screaming about drone strikes and didn't scream about Gitmo, et al, then there might be some point to be made.

Instead I am screaming about the lack of screaming by those whose stated positions on morality, justice, and the law require them to do so.

In order to be a hypocrite, I have to first take a hypocritical position. Pointing out the now fully exposed phony outrage, BDS driven bullshit from Roch and others by way of illustration doesn't fit the bill.

But for the record, I am inclined to support Obama's drone policy as applied to a theater of war.

So what say all of you? Nothing, because to be consistent you would have to burn Obama in effigy and you aren't going to do that because he favors the social policy that you all want and that trumps all other considerations of morality, law, and justice that you previously held so dearly.

I'm right on this. I always have been, and you all know it. Admit it.

Kim

It's a good thing for Pres Obama that he doesn't have to deal with Sen Obama on these issues.

Worst person on the internet

They just keep stepping in it, the few times they dare comment at all. I swear this must be some kind of trap we are being lured into (psst, wait, not yet! Let them get a little closer).

Sam, Don't hold your breath. They only recognize other people's wrongness, and their own rightness (well, and Krugman's, if they can wait it out long enough). It's what their own fragile self-esteem has been so laboriously built upon. They cannot afford to have that foundation kicked out from under them, structurally unsound as it is. It is against their instinct for self-preservation to allow that. I can't really blame them.

Roch

Yeah, I'm not too worried about assaults to my self-esteem launched from meaningless convolutions that begin with "dumb, dumb, dumb." Doesn't stick. Sorry.

Worst person on the internet

Then perhaps you should read and respond to the several thousand irrefutable words posted in several threads here recently, many your own, which do, like thick choking tar. You are still the self-ordained keeper of objective reality, which I assume encompasses reading comprehension, aren't you? You can start with putting your 3 chosen escape route words aside for a minute and stop pretending the other ones aren't there, when it is obvious to any 2 yr old that they were the substance of Sam's post. I can't believe you are deigning to dig this hole deeper and deeper for yourself with such lame deflection and avoidance of the obvious. Maybe you don't need self-esteem after all. I can certainly admit wrongness on that. Fascinating.

Roch

Okee dokee.

Spag

...and with that two word brilliant argument, he who so often called others "imbeciles", "morons", and "stupid" crawled back under his rock. Discredited once again by his own boastful standards being applied to him as he applied them to others.

So we beat on, boats against the current...

Wait. Somebody else already used that coda. Oh well.

The end.

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