Themedia simply report on California’s shortfall of thousands of megawatts and limit the discussion to President Bush’s energy plan and Gov. Gray Davis’ plea for wholesale rate caps. They’re missing the real story. California may need thousands of megawatts of generating capacity in the long run, but the rolling blackouts hit only a few blocks at a time. This summers’ electricity crisis, therefore, isn’t going to be dealt with in Washington or even Sacramento, but at the local and neighborhood level.
Inthe beginning, before there were giant utilities and high voltage transmission lines, and state and federal regulatory agencies and rolling blackouts, companies didn’t sell electricity. They sold power plants. By 1883, the Edison Electric Illuminating Company (later General Electric) had installed 334 power plants inside cotton mills, grain elevators, manufacturing plants, newspapers and theaters.
This policy brief by David Morris and John Bailey from November 1998, looked at potential changes to utility property taxes in Minnesota. The state was re-examining the utility tax structure in light of the restructuring of electricity occurring throughout the country. The rationale for this re-examination is that if Minnesota were to deregulate its electricity sector, customers would be able to buy electricity from any supplier. If taxes were imposed on in-state power plants but not on out-of-state suppliers, it would result in a competitive disadvantage to in-state generators.… Read More
Thisspeech by David Morris was originally presented at a conference of the Environmental Grantmakers Association 1998 Retreat in Houston, Texas, on October 28, 1998. Letme begin with what I hope is a relatively uncontroversial proposition. Rules Matter. Some of you may have a visceral reaction to the word"rules", for it conjures up notions of meddling and government bureaucracies. But the reality is that human societies always have and always will make rules that channel scientific genius, and investment capital and entrepreneurial energy in certain directions. We make the rules, and to a large extent, the rules make us.… Read More