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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

 
I gotcher disaster capitalism for ya richeeyah

by digby

The only answer is privatization:

The Long Island Power Authority should be converted into an investor-owned utility to end poor management practices that exacerbated slow and halting repairs of blackouts from October’s Hurricane Sandy, a New York state investigative panel said today.

Privatization would make management of the state-owned electrical system answerable to the New York Public Service Commission, which should be empowered by the legislature with stronger sanctions including the ability to revoke a utility franchise, the panel told Governor Andrew Cuomo today in a preliminary briefing.

Cuomo, a Democrat, convened the so-called Moreland Commission in November with the power to subpoena witnesses, after more than two million homes and businesses lost electricity from the storm, some for as long as 21 days. Some of the panel’s recommendations will need legislation and Cuomo said he’s waiting for its final report. No date was given for its release.

“The key to problems at LIPA was a fundamentally dysfunctional management structure,” Benjamin Lawsky, the commission co-chairman and superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, said at a meeting in Albany that was broadcast on the Internet. “The commission found that the only solution is for fundamental change at LIPA and how power is delivered on Long Island.”

Yeah, we went down that road in California a decade ago. Privatization of electricity was going to solve every problem from high energy costs to male pattern baldness. It was so exciting. Especially for Grandma Millie:

This is Bob Badeer (a trader at Enron's West Power desk in Portland, CA, where all these tapes were recorded) and Kevin McGowan (in Enron's central office in Houston,TX, as he mentions in the transcript):

KEVIN: So,

BOB: (laughing)

KEVIN: So the rumor’s true? They’re fuckin’ takin’ all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?

BOB: Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to fuckin’ vote on the butterfly ballot.

KEVIN: Yeah, now she wants her fuckin’ money back for all the power you’ve charged right up – jammed right up her ass for fuckin’ 250 dollars a megawatt hour.

BOB: You know – you know – you know, grandma Millie, she’s the one that Al Gore’s fightin’ for, you know? You’re not going to –

BOB: Grandma Millie –

That worked out great for us. I can certainly see why New York would want to privatize as well.

(Obviously, this is not exactly the same sort of privatization, but the concept is the same: privatization as the panacea. It's not. In fact, most of the time it makes things worse. For Grandma Millie anyway.)


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