sábado, enero 13, 2007

A Generative Dialogue Without Illusions Part 20

On January 11th, 2006, I posted the following message under the article Playing with Fire – Part II:

Thanks Mr. Rosenstock for your useful response that allows me to explain, as you will see, why my suggestion makes a lot of sense.

As a promoter of a generative dialogue, I also enjoy the free exchanges of ideas, especially to learn about what has been emerging for electricity customers since the 80's, when Fred C. Schweppe led the development of Spot Pricing of Electricity at MIT.

Faulty deregulation - Model 2 – overextended the useful life of the utility business model – how to win cases to the regulator - and fragmented the transportation system, by placing a tough barrier to Schweppes’s homeostatic utility control, as is explained in the post A Generative Dialogue Without Illusions Part 7. The so called “native” load is a barrier to the development of the resources on the demand side. That is the main reason of the decade old debate, as those resources remain mostly undeveloped.

Hence, there will be no such sacrifice for those vested interests, as they have more that a decade of advantage. The sacrificed have been the little guys, not just in the U.S., but all over the world. “Deregulation, as explained in 2001 was designed as a scam. Donella Meadows got it very close to its essence in the article Restructuring and Faith in the Market. She said:

…electricity restructuring is not being driven by the goal of reducing residential rates. The drivers are technology and industry. New ways of making electricity, such as combined-cycle natural gas generators, and soon fuel cells, allow industrial users to produce their own power at lower cost and with less pollution. One by one they are slipping off the grid, leaving the utilities, with their huge, outmoded, unpaid-for power plants, in a panic.

To save themselves, the power companies meet in back rooms with politicians. They must accomplish three things. First, they must allow big customers to lock in low rates, so they will stay on the grid. Second, they must pay off the debt for their dinosaur plants. Third, they must sell the deal to the public by promising lower rates.

The only way to pull off this miracle is with a public bail-out, called "stranded costs" in the back rooms. Stranded cost payments mean that your electric bill will actually be higher, but a chunk of it will be hidden in your tax bill. This maneuver has nothing to do with a free market. It is perverse socialism. Prop up a dying industry by forcing the people to pay for bad investments. Order utilities to cut rates for awhile to lull taxpayers. Then let the people shop for power in competition with the big guys. That's where the market will come in, but markets aren't kind to little players competing against big ones.

To further justify immediate action, I repeat what I said on 10.3.06, under the article Divorcing Electricity Sales from Profits Creates Win-Win for Utilities and Customers:

I suggest reading what Walter Wriston, chairman of Citicorp said in 1981 about the rights of inherited markets (see Megatrends: ten new directions transforming our lives, by John Naisbitt). That was the lesson of the railroads - a very capital intensive business that didn’t know it was on the business of transportation.

Under EWPC, retail business design innovators will be on the business of electric energy service - light, heat, conditioned air, etc. - which is right after the customer end-use devices. Vested interest should start learning that they will be like the railroads very soon, as EWPC – the wining market model - gets developed and implemented.

© 2007, José Antonio Vanderhorst Silverio, Ph.D.

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