Utility Issues in Texas Highlight the Necessitty to Sweet State and Local Politics Like We Do National
I’m not an expert on how Texas utilities work. I understand from a former professional life some aspects.
But I do undertand Arizona’s Corporation Commission, which regulates our electric and gas utilities. It’s run by a body of 5 elected officials. Partisan. Historically mostly republicans; NOT necessarily bad, just the facts. The party mix has changed a little.
There are some smaller players, but the two major providers are a non-profit that wields much power and the other a subsidiary of a publicly traded company. Gas is also dominated by a publicly held company. Share holders from outside of the state have influence. As do the likes of Tom Stayer and other hedge funds that routinely mount campaigns in the silly seasons of politics. Some campaigns better than others. Still, outside influence and partisan politics run the show.
These bedfellows makes watching this group and scrutinizing the hell out of the commissioners all the more vital here.
In many states, the power and gas utilities, I suspect have this mix of controlling interest. So vital to watch where you are to.
With energy security, climate change managment, and sustainability kind of a big deal, it’s really important for voters in all states to pay attention.
Monitor what’s happening. Participate in planning workshops. Work to ensure you know what’s going on and do what you can to do something more than complain at the local bar about rates going up (if that even happens for you).
The decisions that crippled much of Texas were made long ago. The influence was cemented also. And the contionous cadre of gate keepers to keep the system at risk were lined up by successive generations of power brokers to keep one thing front and center. Not energy security.
This event can’t be blamed on the Green New Deal, Obama, or even Bush. Anything that Trump was perceived to may have done also would not have averted this. This has been coming for decades. Just like the catastrophe PG&E caused in California was. The dealing for wind came long ago. ENRON (not exactly the face of altruistic, hippy energy) was a huge player in getting that ball rolling. In 2007 (before Obama), I’d interviewed with Florida Power and Light for a land acquisition role. At that time they were avoiding Texas because the wind market there they thought was over saturated, capitalized, and leveraged (bad investment decision to them to add more wind capacity in Texas). There are wind turbines blowing in Antarctica now. And colder and icer states like Iowa. So over reliance on wind is yet another cop out.
There is some corporate irresponsibility at foot in Texas and I bet there is some desire for a federal bail out. And why would there not be? All could capitalist enterprises want to keep the feds out of there business until they screw up royally. States like Texas and my own are rugged individualism type places, until excrement hits the fan; then the calls for the feds to step in come.
Ice storms and inclement weather in Texas is a historic thing. It’s part of life there. There should have been some contingencies; especially after El Paso went through this in 2011 and addressed the issue. In the state, they’d seen this already. And Rick Perry did not a thing to address the Texas grid. But neither did anyone else for decades. But he could have, except there was the need to be the Texas energy grid gate keeper and keep it status quo.
Every state has there own things.
Too late to for 2020. But there’s another election cycle that’s already begun. And the lights are up accross the nation.
Pay attention. Focus more locally. Sure if you’re in Texas, you can work to get Ted Cruz out or whatever contemporary to him you may have. You can fire your governor and maybe that helps. With energy honcho in Texas being a gubernatorial appointee, a new governor looks to be coming.
But pay more attention to levels below these. All of them. Connect the dots. Spot the succession planning. And vote against what won’t help you and your family and your neighbors.
No matter where you fall on the climate change spectrum, you have to admit, there is some crazy weather stuff happening. And don’t let partisan climate crusading get in the way of making good decisions. We have energy and utility security issues of a lot of varieties in all 50 states (Florida water hacking anyone).
There is an issue to be fixed every where. Those are going to get addressed locally. No matter what a national policy may look like. The work is going to happen locally.