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| | |-+  Should utilities (electricity, water/sewer, etc) be allowed to run for profit?
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Question: Should utilities (electricity, water/sewer, etc) be allowed to run for profit?
Yes   -12 (31.6%)
No   -26 (68.4%)
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Total Voters: 38

Author Topic: Should utilities (electricity, water/sewer, etc) be allowed to run for profit?  (Read 1514 times)
greenforest32
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« on: January 21, 2012, 09:46:59 am »
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My electricity is provided by a publicly traded, for-profit company that profits from the service and pays out dividends to its shareholders. This profit is extracted from the ratepayers and is an unnecessary added cost.

I believe that utilities should not be run for-profit, but rather as at-cost or below-cost (subsidized) public services provided by the government (or a non-profit organization).

Your thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 11:07:07 am by greenforest32 »Logged
Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 02:21:05 pm »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad
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realisticidealist
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 02:32:11 pm »
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No.
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Lіef
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 04:03:20 pm »
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Of course not. Only in libertarian fantasyland is this a good idea.
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Miamiu1027
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 04:05:22 pm »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

yeah go have competing sewer systems running though Manhattan.  good idea.
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Хahar
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 04:11:38 pm »
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Private utilities shouldn't exist.
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Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 04:22:47 pm »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

yeah go have competing sewer systems running though Manhattan.  good idea.

You don't have private networks for utilities (and water sewer you probably don't have private anything at least in urban areas, rural ones however are very different). What you need is a public network with privately generated electricity, much like our road system. Just beacuse we have government-sponsored roads doesn't mean we need government sponsored cars.
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k-onmmunist
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2012, 10:35:33 am »
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No. Nationalize them and run them as cheap as possible.
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Comrade Sibboleth
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2012, 01:07:01 pm »
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I got my electricity bill today. No.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 01:44:40 pm »
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No. Nationalize them and run them as cheap as possible.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This.  The PEPCO debacle in Maryland should serve as a cautionary note to anyone who thinks that the primary focus of a utility company should be to its shareholders. 
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Antonio V
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 05:11:22 am »
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No. Nationalize them and run them as cheap as possible.
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Marokai Besieged
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 06:30:46 am »
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Private utilities shouldn't exist.
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You kip if you want to...
change08
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 04:11:55 pm »
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The situation we have in England is clear evidence of why they need to be nationalised.
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k-onmmunist
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 04:16:14 pm »
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The situation we have in England is clear evidence of why they need to be nationalised.

Exactly. When people in poorer areas only flush their toilet once a day to save money on the ridiculous water prices, you begin to understand why water privatization is an absolutely moronic idea.
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phk
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 04:25:37 pm »
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Private utilities shouldn't exist.

What about solar panels?
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and then a skeleton popped out
Ghost_white
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2012, 04:28:02 pm »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

Stop making sense.
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That has got to be one of the most retarded proposals I have read on this forum.

Don't worry, I'm sure more will crop up shortly.
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2012, 07:22:21 pm »
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I don't think water/sewer practically can practically be run privately, given the nature of the infrastructure necessary for them to run and where the water comes from to begin with. At best the government could contract out the work, but it would have to own the infrastructure.

Electricity is a bit different. The electrical grid itself is the biggest piece of infrastructure, but anyone who can produce electricity can put it on the grid, (IIRC in many places if you put power back onto the grid by generating your own then your electric company has to pay you for it) and as such models exist where multiple companies could be operating on the same infrastructure and therefore compete. In some cases regulation to prevent gouging might be needed, but since the infrastructure does allow for competition of some degree I'm inclined to allow a for profit company to be an available option.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2012, 12:10:46 am »
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http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29597

Quote
Democratic Party Platform of 1940
July 15, 1940

Electric Power

During the past seven years the Democratic Party has won the first major victories for the people of the nation in their generation-old contest with the power monopoly.

These victories have resulted in the recognition of certain self evident principles and the realization of vast benefits by the people. These principles, long opposed by the Republican Party, are:

That the power of falling water is a gift from God, and consequently belongs not to a privileged few, but to all the people, who are entitled to enjoy its benefits;

That the people have the right through their government to develop their own power sites and bring low-cost electricity to their homes, farms and factories;

That public utility holding companies must not be permitted to serve as the means by which a few men can pyramid stocks upon stocks for the sole purpose of controlling vast power empires.

We condemn the Republican policies which permitted the victimizing of investors in the securities of private power corporations, and the exploitation of the people by unnecessarily high utility costs.

We condemn the opposition of utility power interests which delayed for years the development of national defense projects in the Tennessee Valley, and which obstructed river basin improvements and other public projects bringing low-cost electric power to the people. The successful power developments in the Tennessee and Columbia River basins show the wisdom of the Democratic Party in establishing government-owned and operated hydro-electric plants in the interests of power and light consumers.

Through these Democratic victories, whole regions have been revived and restored to prosperous habitation. Production costs have been reduced. Industries have been established which employ men and capital. Cheaper electricity has brought vast economic benefits to thousands of homes and communities.

These victories of the people must be safeguarded. They will be turned to defeat if the Republican Party should be returned to power. We pledge our Party militantly to oppose every effort to encroach upon the inherent right of our people to be provided with this primary essential of life at the lowest possible cost.

The nomination of a utility executive by the Republican Party as its presidential candidate raises squarely the issue, whether the nation's water power shall be used for all the people or for the selfish interests of a few. We accept that issue.

What happened to our spine? Sad
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2012, 12:32:24 am »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

Stop making sense.
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Marokai Besieged
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2012, 12:49:58 am »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

Stop making sense.

So I take it you would all be fine heavily subsidizing alternative forms of electricity generation for American consumers, then?
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Gustaf
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2012, 09:56:45 am »
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A natural monopoly obviously cannot be allowed to run unregulated.

But it isn't really cheaper to subsidize it. You're just shifting costs based on ideological considerations.
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This place really has become a cesspool of degenerate whores...

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Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2012, 10:14:02 am »
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We live in a world where now we want people to conserve electricity, be sustainable, and save the environment, meanwhile wanting to lower utility costs and favoring government subsidies to drive prices down even further so they can use even more electricity, requiring a larger carbon footprint, so then we try to limit carbon emissions and spend even more money on inefficient technologies like solar and wind so we can subsidize the whole mess even further and push us all into an even larger government money-sink. Argh! Sad

Stop making sense.

So I take it you would all be fine heavily subsidizing alternative forms of electricity generation for American consumers, then?

Not really. I would tolerate some degree of subsidization of large pieces of infrastructure like dams and nuclear reactors, but dislike subsidies for more individualized forms like personal solar panels or oil extraction it begins to lose any sort of public interest. I certainly want us to stop trying to pick energy sources as a government, like say corn-based ethanol that aren't practical.

Sorry guys, but electric bills really aren't that high. My old roommate spends more on alcohol in a weekend than I do on electricity in a month. I fail to see the need to spend a bunch of money subsidizing it for anyone except those who are very, very poor.
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Emperor Scott
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2012, 02:23:43 pm »
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No.  Natural monopolies should never be for-profit.
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Chairman Wow
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2012, 03:05:31 pm »
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Absolutely. Profit is not a bad thing for the users...

However, should they be public? That depends on the utility. Take electricity, I don't think the distributive infrastructure should be private, but would have no problem with the producers to be privately held...

In MA we have had a problem with municipal light departments not cashing in the "green" credits, towns losing literally millions just so they can say they are green. When in actuality they are acting counter to the created mechanism to reinforce green activity.
( to be fair, to the rate payer it would not be significant savings...but that is the sort of absurdity you get with non-profit utility...)
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2012, 03:33:13 pm »
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Of course not. When they are, the price often quadruples.
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