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BS: Gas Prices II

CarolC 15 Jul 01 - 07:41 PM
kendall 15 Jul 01 - 07:24 PM
UB Ed 11 Jun 01 - 08:16 AM
toadfrog 08 Jun 01 - 10:39 PM
CarolC 08 Jun 01 - 07:00 PM
CarolC 08 Jun 01 - 06:56 PM
kendall 07 Jun 01 - 09:45 PM
Jim the Bart 06 Jun 01 - 10:27 PM
kendall 06 Jun 01 - 08:54 PM
Scotsbard 06 Jun 01 - 08:03 PM
kendall 06 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Gareth 06 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM
Jim the Bart 06 Jun 01 - 04:43 PM
UB Ed 06 Jun 01 - 04:20 PM
UB Ed 06 Jun 01 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 06 Jun 01 - 03:20 PM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 02:40 PM
CarolC 06 Jun 01 - 02:39 PM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 02:38 PM
CarolC 06 Jun 01 - 02:36 PM
DougR 06 Jun 01 - 02:18 PM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 02:05 PM
DougR 06 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM
Jim the Bart 06 Jun 01 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 06 Jun 01 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,UB Dan 06 Jun 01 - 09:27 AM
kendall 06 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM
UB Ed 06 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 08:39 PM
CarolC 05 Jun 01 - 08:01 PM
DougR 05 Jun 01 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Brit 05 Jun 01 - 04:59 PM
Jim the Bart 05 Jun 01 - 04:50 PM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 04:19 PM
DougR 05 Jun 01 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 05 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 06:15 AM
Metchosin 05 Jun 01 - 06:06 AM
CarolC 05 Jun 01 - 01:12 AM
CarolC 05 Jun 01 - 12:59 AM
UB Ed 04 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM
DougR 03 Jun 01 - 04:13 PM
CarolC 01 Jun 01 - 08:43 PM
Midchuck 01 Jun 01 - 08:19 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 08:03 PM
kendall 01 Jun 01 - 07:52 PM
CarolC 01 Jun 01 - 06:15 PM
CarolC 01 Jun 01 - 05:48 PM
DougR 01 Jun 01 - 05:39 PM
CarolC 01 Jun 01 - 05:29 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 07:41 PM

I saw something on the news tonight about BMW preparing to put a hydrogen powered car on the market. Sounds like a good plan to me. It might appeal to any consumers who may be using large SUVs for status rather than for utility.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 07:24 PM

What happened to the gasoline shortage? You know, the one that Bush said forces us to rape another wilderness? The price of regular is down to $1.29 here, and, it is dropping all over the country. Why? is there a sudden increase in the supply from OPEC? No, the refineries are back to work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 11 Jun 01 - 08:16 AM

Carol and Toad both make good comments. A "free market" for electricity is tough to do as the barriers to entry are high and the access to market extremely limited. Profit-driven firms will make hay as the sun shines and it currently is shining for the producers.

Carol, I particualry appreciated your comment regarding the incredible complexity of the issue, as well as your genuine interest in learning as much as you can in order to form your opinions.

I agree that certain infrastructure industries should be regulated. Toad's right, the economic impact of this "free market" could drive our entire economy down the tubes.

Carol, I also agree in principle with assessing the cost of alternative solutions versus the price. As you can imagine, this is also extremely complicated as folks attempt to quantify qualitative measures or apply mitigative measures to cure something we don't fully understand.

Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: toadfrog
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 10:39 PM

One problem with all the above. The thread is about gasoline prices. That is a very different kind of problem from the energy crunch in California. Gasoline is fungible. It is easily portable. It is arguable that there is free competition in the gasoline market. So long as the antitrust laws are applied (admittedly dubious) I have no problem whatsoever with leaving gasoline prices to the free market (or with a good stiff tax on gasoline). If high gasoline prices hurt, just about everyone is free to drive less. And should. It is only the farmers who are getting screwed, by high diesel prices. And farmers are being screwed from about five different directions at once.

But electricity and natural gas are an entirely different matter from gasoline. No one can persuade me that free competition exists, or is even possible, in the market for electricity. I shouldn't even have to cite some authority to show that electricity prices are being manipulated; everybody knows this is so. It isn't even illegal to manipulate electricity prices. It is arguable that the manager of a generating firm who does not manipulate prices, and screw the public, and cause wild and crazy price fluctuations, violates his/her duty to the shareholders. It has to be regulated. It will not do to say, people should just use less electricity. Do you realize that the entire aluminum industry in the Northwest, and with it tens of thousands of jobs, is headed for sudden death because of the increased cost of electricity? And the Northwest also has steel mills, which are also headed for trouble. Probably not many Mudcatters work in manufacturing. But lots of people do, and a disaster to them may trickle down to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 07:00 PM

I would just like to add that the upshot of the Frontline show was that the energy crisis has nothing to do with supply, and everything to do with profits. And they show quite a bit of documentation to back this up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 06:56 PM

"Ah Carol, you must have given your old uncle fits"

You're probably right about that.

"With your experience, I think you're gonna peel me like an onion."

I doubt that.

I taped the Frontline show. I'm going to have to watch it a few more times before I can comment effectively on its contents. It's incredibly informative, and also very complicated.

I agree very strongly with Bartholomew's statement about the difference between price and cost. If we try to measure the real costs of continuing to pollute our environment... costs that show up in people's health and related medical costs, lost productivity, and numerous other hidden costs that proponents of dirty energy are not talking about, I think maybe we would see non polluting energy having a much lower total cost to society.

For those who feel that the government shouldn't have anything to do with regulating the energy industry, I would like to point out that the government does have a role to play in matters that concern the common good. That's why we have a military. We don't have a private military. We have a government run military because it is percieved to be for the common good. The government regulates how we are allowed to use our motor vehicles while we are driving them (traffic laws). Again, because this is percieved to be for the common good.

It is no less legitimate for the government to regulate some aspects of how we produce and distribute energy if it is for the common good. The resources that are used to produce energy belong to the public anyway. So there's another reason that it is legitimate for the government to regulate how these resources are used, in order to maximize the benefits to society as a whole, rather than to benefit specific business entities at the expense of the common good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 09:45 PM

Excellent statement! the price AND the cost.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:27 PM

So those who can bike when it's practical and drive when they have to. They don't buy the biggest, gaudiest SUV and then fire it up everytime they need to go two blocks.

My Dad never realized he was a great conservationist when he'd growl "turn the darned lights off when you leave a room", but that's what he was (and still is, thank god...). It's all about common sense and paying attention to the COST of things, as well as the price.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:54 PM

How far do you think a dis abled 200 pounder can pedal a bike?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Scotsbard
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:03 PM

Gotta weigh in on just one thing:

Proponents of fusion power at the enthusiast level seem generally unaware of the likelihood that it will produce just as much radioactive waste as fission.

Why? ... The real problem with fission reactors is not the spent fuel, which is relatively small in size and mass and can be reprocessed (dozens of tons over the life of a plant), but the plant itself, which becomes hundreds or thousands of tons of rather randomly isotoped radioactive junk. Fusion reactors will do the same thing to their components; gradually irradiating them into unusable, dangerous junk. It's inherent in the both processes, as they both scatter neutrons and helium nuclei in all directions at high velocities.

The scientists working on fusion never mention this because it would scare off funding, and the average enthusiast apparently knows no better. The cold fusion thing was an experimental goof, but should something eventually be accomplished there, it shows a little more promise.

Until then, we should get our heads out of the sand regarding serious conservation. A 150# cyclist can haul his 30# bike 30m at 15mph for a couple of sandwiches worth of fuel. A 200# motorist consumes a gallon of gas to haul his 4000# car the same distance in half the time.

You figure out which is more efficient.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:27 PM

OK, here it is, as brief as I can make it. I have nothing against big business as such. I do have something against their "bottom line" mentality. The profit motive is what makes our world go round, but, when these birds move to Mexico to increase their profits while undermining their own country, that is short sighted. Even L.L. Bean, a local store of world fame for quality now has stuff made in China. That's bad enough, but, the price is still as high as it was when it was made in the USA. This is one store in little Freeport Maine, and, it took in over one billion dollars last year. What happened to the American workers who used to make the goods that Bean sold? Do they care? I dont buy anything made in China. Those poor bastards work for slave wages while our big retailers get fat sucking their blood and gouging me! What have I against EXXON? there again, they were not prepared for a spill because that equipment costs money. They did a half assed job of looking like they were dealing with it, but, we all know that area is ruined. The oil is still there under the rocks and EXXON has left the scene. Now, my main bitch with EXXON, they knowingly put a convicted drunk driver, a man who lost his drivers license for O.U.I. in charge of millions of gallons of crude oil, and, while he was sleeping it off, well, some incompetent low ranking seaman ran her aground. That seems to be typical of big business, The hell with the consequences, the bottom line is ok. I will walk before I will buy another drop of gas from EXXON, or, Mobil. Lastly, I'm not stupid enough to think hydrogen burning cars will be the answer in the next few years, but, with R & D who knows what they will come up with? I'm certainly not willing to throw up my hands and say, "Oh well, what can little ol' me do?"

Now, I have a suggestion, why dont we create a special thread where we can post everything having to do with politics, relegion and gun control all in one thread? What say?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,Gareth
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM

For what it's worth, take recent events in the U.K.

A reduction in the tax on Petrol (Gas, over the pond)

Followed by an immediate raise in the Price of Petrol by the Oil Co's.

am afraid that this was not down to Saddam Hussain, no matter what else is laid at his door.

Bluntly the Oil Co.s exist to make money, at our expense.

Incidently in 30 years experience in the U.K insurance industry (claims) I have yet to find a U.K. farmer who runs a Petrol powered car - they are all Deseil.

(NB UK farmers can buy Derv virtualy Tax free, for use on farm machinery only)

Expecting the Oil Co's to act with a degree of social responsability is akin to expecting a shark to show mercy.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 04:43 PM

UB Dan - I don't think the cigarette companies keep marijuana illegal; they just happen to benefit from the fact that it is. They would be glad to sell both to us. The same goes for the liquor industry.

Regarding the legalization of drugs:
I believe that it is not a government's role to legislate morality or protect us from ourselves. If you know the likely consequences of smoking, drinking or getting hooked on smack and choose to do so anyway it's your choice. Unfortunately, if you cease to function properly because of your choice, you will probably end up being a burden on the rest of us.

UB Ed - I think Western thought tends to overvalue the competitive aspects of Capitalism and disregard the imoortance of cooperation in keeping the system running. A business transaction is an agreement between buyer and seller. If one or the other has sole control over the terms of that agreement the system breaks down. A businessman who has all the money in the world has no one to do business with.

Doug R - I am in favor of big business in areas where small business is less efficient and where economies of scale make sense. But our businesses get bigger (through mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, etc.) not to provide better goods and services at more reasonable prices, or to provide more jobs (Ha!), but to maximize profits. The flight of manufacturing jobs from unionized states to non-unionized areas of the world should be illustrative. Big business doesn't give us jobs, they merely control them. Without big business there would have to be a lot more small businesses; small businesses with a vested interest in the communities they serve and to the people they employ. We might not have all the cool stuff we see blasted at us in a million non-stop advertisements, but we'd have plenty of other stuff, maybe better, more interesting stuff.

Big business doesn't care if we have jobs, are fulfilled in our jobs, or fairly compensated in our jobs as long as we make enough dough in those jobs to buy their crap. Doug, I respect your opinion. But I wish I could make you understand that big Business is not your friend - it is just using you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 04:20 PM

Ah Carol, you must have given your old uncle fits (I'm sure he loved you dearly). With your experience, I think you're gonna peel me like an onion. Rest assured, very little surprises me anymore. What I'm talking about is the basic way the industry operates.

Begin with my initial premise of economies of scale and then mix in other exogenous variables including legislated societal programs and increasing licensing requirements and the costs do turn around. In a regulated environment, this was the only way to get folks to conserve or to build cleaner power stations. And that was ok.

My company built a coal-fired facity in the mid 1990's with pollution removal efficincies for various criteria pollutants in the 90% or better range. Of the $1.2 Billion spent, $400 Million was for pollution control equipment. Even with that price tag, it was less expensive to generate with that technology than solar, wind or dispersed generation. (By the way, my company also had over 25% of its members' load under direct load reduction programs.)

Fast forward to today, even tougher environmental requirements accompanied by unrealistic expectations for competition and you have a situation where costs now are to the levels where these alternative technologies can compete. The big question is, have we imposed the "right" level of requirements on conventional power sources or have we gotten off the economic curve (this is a question on incremental effects; where do you stop? For example, I can spend $1 million to move my pollution reduction technology from 93% to 94% efficiency. To get from 94% to 95% would cost $100 million more. Am I required to do that or have I met the criteria?)

Additionally, you may have noticed a recent rash of mergers and acquisitions among traditional utilities. This is to achieve the size perceived necessary to compete in a deregulated environment. This is clearly an economies of scale issue.

So, that's why I believe economies of scale still make sense, if one can operate in a common-sensical world. I am aware, however, that that is not the case.

By the way, hold onto your conservation hat. I expect the competitive retail power suppliers to offer discounts to customers who can shed load during peak cost periods.

Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 03:24 PM

Bart, thanks for the long post. You did a great job organizing and presenting your thoughts. I especially liked the accountability comments. I can pretty much agree with your comments, but I will take exception to my perception of a wrong term.

"...the part of capitalism that encourages hard work and new ideas is good, while the part that encourages greed, envy and the other deadly sins is bad."

I don't believe its capitalism that encourages any of these traits. Rather, I believe it is basic human nature and they way you were raised, that influences that outcome. That being said, I think capitalists can promote social welfare (Please note various wealthy philantrophists). Unfortunately, there aren't enough who were raised "right" and that seems to be where government comes in.

Balance, balance, balance...

Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 03:20 PM

Doug, there are two of us UB folks...Ed has much more credibility than me.

And...I do agree with some aspects of what Bartholomew says. I like the mail analogy...USPS exist and is available at cheap affordable price for all...for those who want better service FED EX and various other private companies exist...these private companies encourage the USPS to offer the best service it can, and USPS encourages fed ex to keep prices low. I also think that the current anti trust laws are important.

I do disagree with him on some issues...he tends to see some cause and effects differently than I do...for example, Bartholomew thinks cigarette companies work to keep marijuana illegal so they can sell tobacco, I think they sell tobacco because marijuana is illegal. I think we also disagree on the entire legalization of drugs issue.

The best comparison to make is that Bartholomewe doesn't trust private industries without government intervention...and I don't trust government without private intervention. We both agree that corruption exists and it does harm, but we fear it most in different sectors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:40 PM

Or are you saying that you like black-or-white thinking and I don't?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:39 PM

Sorry... that should be *trends.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:38 PM

You like monopolies and I don't? Guess that's a difference, then.

alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:36 PM

UB Ed,

One of my uncles was, until he retired, a Vice President of an electrical utility company in New Hampshire (USA). He and I used to get into spirited debates about the direction in which the energy industry can and should go. I used to make predictions based on the treads that I was reading and hearing about, and he would strenuously disagree.

My satisfaction was immense (as I'm sure you can imagine) when one of my predictions proved true, and his company started paying its customers to conserve energy because it's cheaper to do that than to build new power plants.

Don't be too surprised if things don't go the way you expect them to based on your previous experience. I think we're in a whole new ballgame now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:18 PM

Well, Alex, I suppose that is one of the differences we have. :>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:05 PM

There's that black-or-white thinking again, Doug, just from the other side. You seem to imply that people either love Big Business and thus we leave them alone to do their thing, or people hate them and want them totally shut down.

Truth is, Big Business, unchecked, tends to monopoly. I'm for big business, but only with big regulation to keep it in line.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM

Good luck, Guest UB, should you elect to reply to Bart's comemnts.

It will come as no surprise to anyone on this forum that I agree wholeheartedly with you. I think you make your points very understandable and, based on your comments to Carol, it would appear to me that you have credibility.

On this forum, the majority of the posters view "big business" as the enemy. Never mind that without them our country would have a bit of an unemployment problem.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:05 PM

This is a long post. That's because I'm tired of trying to express myself in sound bites. UB Dan – You've got the gist of my raving, but it's hard to convey a full picture in a few reader's digest styled posts.

I believe that we have enough resources on this planet to provide for the basic needs of all the people – even those who live in the stinking deserts – as long as people can control their greed. I also believe that NO ONE, in any part of this world, has more of a right to their equal share in things that anyone else; and, conversely, that NO ONE is excused from contributing what they can (in physical labor, intellect, talent, skill or whatever) to the common wealth.

In short, I believe in that an idealized state is possible and that we are kept from achieving the ideal because of our bad habits, shabby thinking, outmoded ideas, raw fear and a bunch of other unavoidable human traits. The problem is to figure out a way to get from where we are to the idealized state that we would all like to be in – the state where we are all fulfilled, developed, loved & loving, challenged, rewarded and able to live WITHOUT FEAR.

I don't know of any system ever developed that has done a better job of putting us on the road to the good life than the one we have devised in the US. Maybe it's parochialism on my part., but that's how I feel. I also think that within our system there are serious defects that not only keep us from getting to Heaven on earth, but also threaten to bring the whole damn thing down.

So what do I think is wrong and how do I think we should fix it? That is the tough question, isn't it? At the most basic level, I think you must implement policy that encourages our best tendencies as human beings and minimizes our worst. This means that the part of capitalism that encourages hard work and new ideas is good, while the part that encourages greed, envy and the other deadly sins is bad.

To address your comments on my comments:

Yes. IMO food, shelter, clothing, education at a basic level should be provided for everyone. Certain services should also be provided at a nominal charge – electricity, clean water, highway systems, libraries (with computers), mail delivery. By nominal charge, I mean that the services are self-supporting without the need to show profitability.

If someone wishes to provide a higher level of service (like FEDEX) at a higher price, that's fine. But the private sector cannot be allowed to eliminate public services. The tendency in this country is toward privatization as a cure to perceived bureaucratic inefficiency. I don't see any reason why public companies can't be run as well as private. I believe it's corruption that's the problem and I believe that accountability is the cure.

Regarding socialism and capitalism. Socialism is only possible within a capitalist state; it is a form of capitalism. Communism – common ownership – can only work on a local and limited basis. As I see it, without FDR's experiments in socialism this system smashes on the rocks in the 30's.

Look at Hitler's Germany – "National Socialism" was a form of state managed and supported capitalism; it was their answer to a ravaged economy. The New Deal was ours. All of the people who are trying to dismantle the social safety net have forgotten that it was put into place for a reason and that the fundamentals haven't changed. We are riding high on technical advances and developing markets; an extended run of bad luck and we're back to selling apples on the street corners (or PC's for the IBM crowd).

Bottled water. What better symbol of how Capitalism works is there? We pollute the one resource that we can't live without, by spilling our personal and business waste into our commonly held water supply. Then entrepeneurs figure out a way to filter out the waste and sell this resource back to us a bottle at a time. Our insane drug policies are a personal sticking point. My point in bringing it up at all is that as long as criminalization of various substances helps businesses, the profit motive will keep us from finding realistic approaches to dealing with these issues.

One last point – There are too many people in this world who are simply not willing to generate money for those who don't have it. The ultimate example of how capitalism works is the game Monopoly. If you play it right, one person ends up with everything and everyone else is out of the game. Whether you believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket or not, this system is. And emphasizing the worst aspects of it won't fix it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:38 AM

Bartholomew,

I'm still a little confused on your main position, but I think it is that the utility companies should be government owned and government run...is this right? It also looks like you take this position because you believe capitalism is oppressive and exploitative, because of greed and because true free markets don't exist. Those who have an advantage will drive out all competition, obtain a monopoly and then provide inferior services at exorbitant prices. Did I understand you correctly or am I missing it? Below, I have also responded directly to some comments, but I want to make sure that I'm not just misunderstanding you or not getting the full picture.

"We need to decide whether electricity at "a just and reasonable price" is a right of the American citizen, as FDR's administration claimed. If it is, we need to treat the providing of electrical power like we do the providing of highways, the providing of national security, the providing of an education and the providing of mail service.
When public services are placed opened to market forces choices are diminished, not increased; there would be no rural mail service if it had to be done at a profit."

**What about providing food and shelter and telephones...these should all be rights as well.. Education and mail service both have competition from the private sector...and cooperation (the U.S.P.S. and Fed Ex are working out a deal to figure out how they can help each other. If there would be no rural mail service if it had to be done at a profit, there would also be no guaranteed overnight delivery, no immediate pick-up, etc...if profit was never a consideration. Also there are phones in rural areas...and yet the phone services operate for profit.

"I don't accept capitalism without socialism anymore. The only thing Free Market Capitalism has been good at is the production of STUFF. All it's good for is exploiting people and things with an eye on personal gain."

***Well, the production of stuff, employment, wages, capital....I don't accept socialism without capitalism, what has it been good for?

"Capitalism hasn't made us a better society. It hasn't made us happy. It has only made us "richer" in material comforts. It has created generations of asthmatics to come. It has created the bottled water industry. It has nearly buried us in our own garbage. It has turned citizens into criminals(If you don't think it's in the best interest of the liquor, plastics, tobacco and other industries to keep hemp illegal, think a little harder) and criminals into millionaires (what better example of free market capitalism is there than the cocaine trade?). And it is rapidly becoming the only game in town."

***A better example of free narket capitalism than the cocaine trade is bottled water...generally tap water operates under stricter guidelines than bottled water, yet people are willing to pay for it...what about the hoola-hoop, yo-yo's, supermarkets, malls...Why would a plastic companies care what their plastic is made of as long as they sell it and make a profit? If liquor and tobacco keep hemp illegal why don't they try to drive each other out of business. If it were legalized, I think you would find it sold under the Marlboro brand...Do you really think they have conspired against it...and all for capital gain...they'd make more money selling it if they could. Capitalism has made us a better society, more money, more research, more technological and medical advances...Yes bad things happen...yes there is pollution, but these things all exist in socialist and communist settings as well. I'm not convinced that the world is going to hell in a hand basket...and I'm not sure money is the cause. Instead of taking money away from people who have it, I think the answer lies in generating more for those who don't have it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:27 AM

Kendall, I understand your desire to have free cars that run on water...but until that time, you need to think logically about how that can come about. How can you be upset at EXXON as the destroyer of worlds and be upset that prices may rise. If prices rise, this will encourage the development of alternate energy. Also, who at EXXON are you upset at...is it just EXXON...is it all gasoline retailers...is it oil producers...is it oil transporters...is it that they charge money for their product...EXXON is an easy mark if your quoting cereal box philosophy because they had a very high-profile oil spill. But don't you think that they should also be rewarded for their efforts to clean it up. I'm not saying that they did it out of the goodness of their heart...but they did devote alot of time and money to clean it up. Should our message be that it doesn't matter whether they tried to clean it up or not. Or is that not the issue? If it is not the issue, then what is? Kendall, help me...I don't understand the message you are trying to convey.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM

And, while you are at it, change the word "de-regulation" to "Price gouging, or exploitation"


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM

Hi Carol. I'm an electrical engineer who has worked in the electric utility industry over 20 years. My personal experience includes evaluating power supply alternatives, planning for tranmission lines, environmental licensing for new facilities, wholesale energy trading and most recently, competitive retail energy sales.

My comments regarding the linkage of generation and transmission are based on electrical theory and personal experience. My comments on economies of scale are from personal experience.

Bart, I like your comments about the free market and prerequisites. I wonder, however, if you'd be comfortable with changing the word "socialism" to "regulation".

Carol, Brit seems to make some economy of scale arguements as well. Brit, you got any readily available info on this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:39 PM

The bastards couldn't afford me Doug. There are things that money cant buy. Brit, back when the automobile hit the scene, they said, "It will never be practical, wont go more than 5 miles an hour."


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:01 PM

Guest,Brit, I would be interested in knowing where you get your information about alternative energy sources as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:08 PM

I don't know, Kendall, they're paying him a lot of money. Maybe that has something to do with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,Brit
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:59 PM

This is a bloody parochial thread! Complaining that groundnut oil (or whatever) is $2.99 a gallon - I would be glad to fill my diesel powered car at that rate. Just because California doesn't know its arse from its elbow at the moment does not change the fact that in 20 years time you will be paying $29.9 a gallon for your fuel, if you're really lucky. All this faffing about hydrogen as a fuel ignores the fact that it takes about twice the amount of enengy to make the hydrogen than you can ever get out out of it! Wind power - it takes an entire turbine farm to get enough energy to run a 40% of a single Sainsbury (a spermarket chain) depot in the South of England. Solar Energy - as mentioned in other messages, it still has barely reached its break-even point in terms of the construction of the solar conversion units. Hydro-power - already probably reached its effective limits - its been developed the longest. Tidal power - probably has still some mileage, but is limited both in application (there aren't many suitable sites which will stay in one piece) and in time (they tend to silt up).

Hydrogen fusion has been on the brink of a break through since as long as I can remember - in the 1950's.

Thre does not seem to be anything on the horizon - but we do know that fission does work and it seems to be the only thing that will keep us warm in winter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:50 PM

At this point in our history, "de-regulation" will not result in free and competitive markets. Energy suppliers exert the same monopolistic control over markets and consumers now that the trusts did back in old T. Roosevelt's time.

We need to decide whether electricity at "a just and reasonable price" is a right of the American citizen, as FDR's administration claimed. If it is, we need to treat the providing of electrical power like we do the providing of highways, the providing of national security, the providing of an education and the providing of mail service.

When public services are placed opened to market forces choices are diminished, not increased; there would be no rural mail service if it had to be done at a profit.

Doesn't anyone see that the more we give ourselves over solely to the profit motive the worse the quality of our life gets? We complain about a degradation in "Values" in our society. Well, how can any other value be heard when everyone is shouting "How much CASH is it worth?"? And that's exactly what you do when place every necessity of life on the market.

As I see it, a person's position on this (and so many other societal "crises") is going to depend on how completely he/she believes in Capitalist dogma. To support the Bush administration's policies you need to truly believe in a few basic premises at least:
1. Free markets exist.
2. Free markets guarantee greatest choice.
3. Free markets guarantee the best price.

I might accept #2 & #3. Unfortunately, without #1 the others don't matter.

You have to also believe that the accumulation of wealth should be unrestricted and that "unleashing the power of capital" is the path toward a healthy society.

You have to forget all the lessons that we learned so well in 1929.

I don't accept capitalism without socialism anymore. The only thing Free Market Capitalism has been good at is the production of STUFF. All it's good for is exploiting people and things with an eye on personal gain.

Capitalism hasn't made us a better society. It hasn't made us happy. It has only made us "richer" in material comforts. It has created generations of asthmatics to come. It has created the bottled water industry. It has nearly buried us in our own garbage. It has turned citizens into criminals(If you don't think it's in the best interest of the liquor, plastics, tobacco and other industries to keep hemp illegal, think a little harder) and criminals into millionaires (what better example of free market capitalism is there than the cocaine trade?). And it is rapidly becoming the only game in town.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 04:19 PM

You cant yet. They are to be released in about 2 to 3 years. The electric/gas hybrids are available now, but, there is a waiting list.

How can anyone who cares about the environment do anything to make EXXON successful?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 03:47 PM

And my grandson just went to work for Exxon! I'll have to tell him his career move is doomed to failure, I guess. Where can I buy me one of those hydrogen powered vehicles, Kendall?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:51 AM

Thanks kendall...that clears it all up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:15 AM

Last night there was a short blurb on those hybrid cars, and, on US made vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells. Thats the wave of the future. I intend to have one as soon as possible. Screw EXXON!


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Metchosin
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:06 AM

As a citizen of a Province which has Public Utility and has been tarred with the brush of price gouging during the recent California energy crisis, this has been really interesting so far, especially looking at this from a Canadian perspective.

Hydroelectric energy production in this province, is not primarily through private companies and shareholder dividends, but through a publicly funded corporation called BC Hydro (Powerex is its subsidiary which sells energy surplus to domestic requirements to the US).

Citizens of BC get a price break on their hydro rates because we are, in theory, the owners and get a return on investment of our tax dollars that go into the construction of dams, generating plants and infrastructure. But we pay dearly for our public utility, through our higher taxes to fund such projects, compared to taxation in US jurisdictions and in some instances, the cost is also reflected in the destruction of our fisheries habitat. It is therefore difficult to determine the real price individuals pay for hydroelectric energy in B.C, but it is certainly far more than the kilowatt per hour rate reflected in our hydro bill.

One in California, or elsewhere, may look at our fairly low domestic hydro rates compared to their own and feel we are getting an incredible deal and they are being gouged, but they are unaware of the real cost of Hydro to taxpayers in this Province.

BC sent power to California despite the fact that there were serious questions in the minds of some here, that BC Hydro would ever be fully paid for the electricity it sold to companies that were already publicly in serious financial difficulties. Not normally a wise business move. Like mortgage rates, prices become high, the higher the risk as well. Also, the need came at a time when the capacity of our generating plants was low and our own domestic needs were high. (It's really cold in most of this Province in the winter).

I do hope the same thing doesn't occur next winter as well, because BC snowpacks this year are at record lows, drawing down water for hydroelectric production seriously affects salmon survival in BC rivers and if we have a cold winter again, our domestic needs are going to be high again too. All this impacts upon the free market price of hydro at the time and things could be very expensive for California again. And if we have been repudiated for selling the power last winter at a high price (along with several other US power corporations) imagine what bastards we will be considered, if we can't supply our own needs and that of the American market too.

And yes, it would be helpful for this Province to make a healthy profit on its surplus again for a change, although I am still confused how that profit has been determined. A figure of 179 million has been bandied about, but I am not certain if this profit was calculated before or after the unpaid figure of 300 million dollars that the bankrupt California companies were unable to pay for power that was sent and used. So the high profit may be so far, on paper only.

I would be really interested in any further information regarding geothermal electrical power generation. This Province and the whole of the west coast of North America should, theoretically, have huge potential in that area.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:12 AM

(Sorry, a bit sleep deprived here.)

Upon what do you base them, and where do you get your information?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:59 AM

UB Ed,

You have made some interesting assertions in your 04-Jun-01 - 01:41 PM post. Upoon what do you base it, and where do you get your information?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM

Carol, I don't think deregulation is the answer. I've simply been discussing some of my opinions as to why it doesn't seem to be working in certain areas.

Government subsidies can occur regardless of a regulated or unregulated environment. In general, I believe in the long term, most susidies are not good.

That being said, specifically with regard to the electric utility industry, it is important to understand that it works in accordance with the laws of physics. Generation stations and transmission lines are built to compliment each other; as such a program that seeks to unbundle these two aspects of the business must address these complimentary issues. I've yet to see a regulator do this. With this regard, Midchuck Caddy comment is right on.

Another aspect of this industry is that there are indeed benefits of economies of scale. A large centrally located power station can produce energy at a $/kwh rate much less than smaller dispersed units. That being said, when electric utilities could still build these types of facilities, there was no way these dispersed sources (like windmills) could economically compete. Hence the utilities' lack of interest. Note also that these regulated electric utilities were not owned by gas, oil or coal producers, so they really didn't have an incentive to discriminate against other technologies.

An interesting aspect of this deregulation mess and the success of power plant opponents is to drive electricity prices up to levels where these dispersed resources appear to be more affordable.

Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 03 Jun 01 - 04:13 PM

Kendall, a Brownie! Brownie's are a bit young for Boy Scouts aren't they ...oh, but maybe that's whay they kicked you out! I love Browies myself, but can't eat them anymore. Too fattening. :>)

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 08:43 PM

Midchuck, who's Cady?

Re: the sun and nuclear power... you have to admit, since we can use the sun right where it is, it doesn't have a NIMBY problem associated with it's use as a source of power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Midchuck
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 08:19 PM

Cady's First Law:

There is nothing that a corporate executive can f*** up so bad that a bureaucrat can't make it worse.

Cady's Second Law:

There is nothing that a bureaucrat can f*** up so bad that a corporate executive can't make it worse.

Note that most conservatives would agree with the first and disagree violently with the second; and most liberals would do the reverse.

I hold both to be true, even though that creates a logical feedback with no final resolution. Maybe that's the problem.

Peter.

P. S.: Solar power is nuclear power. So make up your minds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 08:03 PM

KENDALL! Shame! LOL-LOL-LOL-LOL....


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 07:52 PM

Dirty old man? of course! Hell, I was a dirty YOUNG man. Before that, a dirty boy, I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts for eating a brownie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 06:15 PM

Ok. I've read the article Bartholomew mentioned in his link. I strongly recommend that people read this article. DougR, I think it addresses many of the issues you have brought up. I would love to post the entire thing right here, but it's too long. So I'll just post an excerpt...

"Through it all, dereg apologists are having a hard time explaining why two California power companies were immune to the crisis: the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Both are owned by the public, and both maintain heavy commitments to renewables and efficiency. In 1989 Sacramento voted to shut its one nuclear reactor, and has since pioneered a major shift to solar, wind and biomass energy, with heavy commitments to conservation.

During the crisis, rates charged by both companies have been stable. The two "munis" actually made money selling power to their embattled private neighbors, underscoring the fact that throughout the United States, public-owned power districts supply electricity cheaper and more reliably than the private utilities. The California crisis has already spurred grassroots movements in San Francisco, Davis and elsewhere to demand municipals of their own. "In the long run," says author Dan Berman, "public ownership is central to any real solution to the problems of the electric-utility grid."...

...Which leaves what the consumer/environmental community that opposed AB 1890 has been arguing for all along--renewables. The most notable new Western power plant is now stringing its way along the Oregon-Washington border. It consists of 450 windmills with sufficient capacity to power 70,000 homes. With construction under way in February, electricity could be surging out by December 31, a far faster construction timetable than for any other source. The fuel supply will be cheap, stable and clean. Environmental opposition will be nil.

Thanks to 15,000 windmills built in the 1980s under Governor Jerry Brown (now mayor of Oakland), California once produced 90 percent of the world's wind power. But the big utilities wanted little to do with them. Last year the world-leader's mantle slipped to Germany, which built the equivalent of a large reactor's capacity in wind power. Had California done the same, things might have been different. "The message is clear, " says Coyle. "The power supply needs to be controlled by the public. And efficiency and renewables work. Do we have to go through this again to relearn those lessons?""


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 05:48 PM

Yes, DougR. And for that reason, I'm interested in finding out what the truth is about whether or not there has been any misbehavior on the part of energy producers and (if true) how it has effected the situation in California.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 05:39 PM

Carol, in the long-term, I agree with your last paragraph. However, the need is now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 05:29 PM

It looks to me like both UB Ed, and UB Dan are saying that government deregulation of the big energy industries is a good thing because subsidies are bad (because of the hidden costs).

I agree about subsidies being hidden costs. The problem I have with the idea that there should be no government involvement, is that the government has been heavily subsidizing the big energy industries for a long time. As a result, they are now very big and powerful competitors in the marketplace. If people aren't using solar, it's not because they necessarily don't want to. It's because the marketplace favors the use of the bigger, more entrenched energy industries. Thanks, in part, to the help of government subsidies to those industries.

Except for the nuclear industry which has never been competitive in the marketplace. It has relied heavily on government assistance to get developed, and then once implemented, the use of it tends to raise the cost of energy for consumers. So it has the hidden cost of 'subsidies', and it ends up being more expensive anyway.

The governmet is going to subsidize somebody. I think we can take that for granted. I submit that it would be more in our long-term interest if it would subsidize alternate energy technologies rather than the existing energy industries. Because that's the direction in which we need to move, and because the existing energy industries have recieved enough.


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