Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thanks for the Blackmail, Warren

It's always great when your utility company decides to blackmail you.  From today's Tribune:
Rocky Mountain Power is giving Utahns an ultimatum: Give us the money we want or we won't give you the electricity you need.  The company that three weeks ago received permission from state utility regulators to raise its rates by $36.1 million, or 2.6 percent, now says that isn't nearly enough. And if it doesn't get more, Utah must face the consequences.  "This isn't a threat," Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said. "When the laws of man go against the laws of physics, the laws of physics always win. And generating electricity is all about physics..."
Rocky Mountain Power said that beginning Sept. 15 when its customers' power goes out it isn't going to authorize any of its employees to work overtime to get the electricity back up. It also is going to cut back on the maintenance of its system and will implement a hiring freeze for any positions that involve serving customers.
It's nice to know that the money Rocky Mountain Power is getting from its customers to help its shareholders will go into the Warren Buffett Charitable Trust whereby he can help poor people in the future. Perhaps he could earmark some of that trust money back to Utah's utility customers to pay the extortion request of his company?

2 comments:

Cheeth said...

I'm a little surprised at your populism here, Sorro. What do you expect the company to do, operate at a loss? I don't see how Warren Buffett's ownership or charity has anything to do with the fact that energy prices have obviously gone up, and the people who consume it are going to have to pay more.

If they have to cut costs to stay in business, I guess they could just cut the power instead of the customer service...

Come on, man, next thing we know, you'll be advocating a retarded gas holiday.

Sorro said...

It is a tic populist, but in regulated public industries you have to have a little of that. RMP isn't operating at a loss, they just want a higher profit.
If we had a deregulated energy market without the barriers to entry that we currently have, I'd have no problem with them charging whatever they want (it might mean that I change power companies, but that's the market). The problem is that we're captive to their whims and when they ask for an increase and it's determined that they don't need the full amount, they go and punitively announce that they're going to punish Utahns because they didn't get what they wanted. I'll give Questar one thing and that's that they've never done anything like this.