BELOW: The energy crisis shuck-jive hustle hall of fame


Expanded from the 2-25-2001 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

"(Sierra Pacific Power's) credit worthiness appears at risk. The reason for the California meltdown is (Southern California Edison’s and Pacific Gas & Electric’s) credit worthiness was gone. We are on the edge of that situation if we do not go forward and allow this rate increase to go into effect."


Casinos now in total control of Nevada energy policy --

Neal fights for consumers against Townsend and big biz

Casinos and mines win deregulation vote

Senate kills low income help

661: Nevada's Mark of the Beast

AB 661 fight

Dudley Do-Right & Friends -- Carson City Cartoon Characters Continue Capers

Pundit Ralston: Dereg ain't dead, gets reintroduced soon

Cleaned up AB 369 to re-regulate utilities facing critical vote

Sen. Townsend: Buckley disses me

Publicly owned Colorado River power opposed

Nevada Power contradicts its governor/lobbyist

Bill exclusively deregulates casinos and mining

Governor shills for gambling and mining privileges

Regulators hold noses, go back to the future

Nevada Energy News Roundup

PUC orders SPP disclosure

NURAy veteran testifies as belated hearings finally open

Sierra Pacific Power granted largest rate increase in Nevada history without a hearing --

State consumer advocate -- rate increase illegal

Decision based on SPP press releases

Consumer advocate sues to stop rate hike

Consumer advocate withdraws legal challenge

Las Vegas Review-Journal page one story

Reno Gazette-Journal

Rate hikes prove Sen. Joe Neal right again, Las Vegas editors wrong, as usual

Neal: Deregulation won't drop prices.

How Steve Wynn started Nevada deregulation

Hidden costs -- lawmakers help utilities shift taxation onto residences

1980 WARNING IGNORED -- Kilowatts convert conservative cowboys to socialism

Nevada utility rates based on quicksand for consumers

AFL-CIO, IBEW oppose sale of Nevada power plants

So said Nevada Public Utilities Commission member Richard McIntyre, justifying an immediate 17.7 percent rate increase for Sierra Pacific Powerful.

"We need to keep the lights on. If we choose to suspend (immediate action), we will be hearing this (rate case) by candlelight," he added.

Mr. McIntire's comment places evidence on the record that our ratepayer-paid regulators act as co-perpetrators of utility rape and pillage.

SPP agreed to a rate freeze as part of its push for deregulation. Now, the company is reneging on its contract with the public.

The latest scam is supported by the usual disinformation campaign, aided and abetted by compliant news media.

If Mr. McIntire indeed made the statement attributed to him, then he should be removed from office for gross incompetence. The Golden State's energy mess was not caused by credit unworthiness of its robber baron utilities.

No less than the Bible of Business, the Wall Street Journal, reported in depth last August how electrical generation companies cleverly manipulated the market to jack up prices.

But when nonsensical statements by supposed experts weasel into the public record, they seldom get corrected. Just a few days ago, I saw a credible national publication repeat as fact the purported reason why Bill Clinton bombed Iraq soon after taking office in 1993 -- revenge for a supposed Iraqi plot to kill former President Bush during a visit to the region. It was later proven a hoax, but the falsehood now has a life of its own.

Alas, as a wise man once said, a lie goes halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.

There is no energy shortage in California, just a regulatory shortfall. But clever con jobs abound when some fiasco or tragedy twists the public psyche to serve private profit.

The Sierra Pacific rate hike is no more than a legalized stickup with PR and political cover provided by the tribulations of the unfortunate consumers of California.

Conning the public on energy issues has proven remarkably easy and richly profitable. The brass balls shown by the likes of Commissioner McIntire thus become entirely understandable. Only the public pays any penalty.

Here's a quick refresher course on the gonzo mythology of the greatest energy crisis shuck-jive hustles.

THE GULF WAR WAS (1) NECESSARY AND (2) A U.S. VICTORY. This weekend, George Herbert Hoover Bush and Hoary Norman Schwarzkopf celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Gulf War reality-TV series. President Bush the First whipped the nation into a war frenzy as he vowed to stop Saddam Hussein's "act of aggression" against Kuwait.


POWER TO THE PEOPLE WINS A ROUND -- Bill to allow Colorado River Commission to sell power to southern Nevada governments advances.


Saturday, 5-19-2001. Same time, same place as the meeting, below. Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, will speak. Public welcome.


The Nevada Utility Reform Alliance (NURAy) will meet again on Saturday, March 17 (yes, we know what day that is) at 1:00 p.m. at the Progressive Leadership Alliance conference building at 1101 Riverside Drive at the Booth St. bridge in Reno.

Sen Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, who has introduced a bill repealing deregulation, will be the featured speaker.

Anyone wanting to start a chapter, contact Charles Laws, Tom Wilson or Andrew Barbano.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Actually, his ambassador, April Glaspie, told Saddam the U.S. would have no objection to invasion, terming it a local border dispute in which America would not become involved. Turned out that our current president stood to lose potentially lucrative drilling rights in the gulf if Saddam stayed in Kuwait. So, hundreds of thousands are now dead, countless more ex-soldiers are falling ill, Saddam is still in power and the oil field of President Bush the Second came up dry.

THE MOOSE WHO ATE CALIFORNIA. Dubya is selling oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as an emergency measure necessitated by the phony California energy crisis. Actually, if all the ANWR oil were available right now, it would make about a one percent difference, if that. ANWR's total capacity would take care of the nation for about six months.

THE PETROLEUM PUMP PHANTOM. The oil industry line insists that a myriad of unforeseen mishaps over the past two years came together to cause the gasoline price spiral which hit the west coast the hardest. But opening up Alaska to drilling 30 years ago was supposed to avoid such western supply problems. Actually, President Clinton authorized the sale of Alaskan oil to foreign countries a few years back and western pump prices are merely the result of clever industry price fixing. See the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive for the expensive details.

As long as the major corporate media repeat the spin of the PR departments of their Wall Street peers, you and I will pay greater and greater financial and human costs.

Having seen no real relief from the increasing boldness of corporate America, I forecast only two potential energy solutions: takeover of a predatory industry through government action in the near term.

Or the same thing by a desperate and well-armed public a little further out.

It ain't gonna be pretty either way. War is heck.

Be well. Raise hell.

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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413, editor of U-News, and manager of Sen. Neal's website. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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