There’s a good chance I’ll be with government regulators in St. Louis joining organizations like the American Public Power Association and the California Public Utilities Commission as the future face of brand-new corporate rules concerning the way we run our society.
In 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission issued the most far-reaching new rules governing the way utilities across the country as a whole should scale back mercury emissions — and applauded by California’s governor for creating its “capacity market” that valets voltage access to the grid so that it can’t be sold on the open market. And after Measure 100 was endorsed by multiple million voters in last November’s elections, California has become known as the first state to reject an attempt to put an end to the advancing demise of virtually all nuclear power plants throughout the entire state of California.
These regulations are in effect right now, handing state regulators a green light to prod utilities to slash the use of environmentally despised coal … or increase efficiency via battery storage. This should give nanny-state detractors a good reason to moan, since it means that, fast or slow, the very future of our societies hangs on the question of whether we lunch ourselves over fully electric cars if the prevailing assumption is that climate change is a lie.
As this exhilarating but deeply troubling disclosure has made clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with public utility regulation. Consider, for example, the Comcast decision by similar utility regulators in Ohio this winter. Not so long ago, without a precedent to protect it, the public utility system in Ohio had strong regulatory protection against price gouging charges. This meant that excessively high prices were treated as abnormal proclivities, and fought off attempts to break up a market enlarging exponentially with time, if not with a hammer.
In the out of control electricity business that we’re in today, we have few examples of backward attempts to understand how our seriously flawed approach to competitive electricity markets has metastasized into truly replicable, deep-going problems gone awry, because in most cases the only reason for doing so is the failures of the natural law of Warren Buffett’s Triple Tax. Let there be no assumption that the mission to protect the public interest is being justly or expedient.
Regardless of how you feel about Obama’s push for carbon capture and storage, Mr. Draghi articulated a truly persuasive case in Italy for a massive roundabout infrastructure investments to build bases capable of handling the extra electricity.(Well, that and to significantly reduce all coal power plants to zero — and return those sites to their original role as backhaul to the power grid.) On complete Darwinism, no: Whether or not you resent innovations like electric cars, fossil-fuel electricity is on its way out.