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Should ESSENTIAL utilities be controlled by private companies.

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DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Administrator
Mar 5, 2001
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I skimmed this thread momentarily, and at first, found myself in agreement with those thinking the OP was an idiot; PUC and all that.

Then, I started thinking of my sister. She lives in Fairport, NY. Electricity is publicly owned and operated.
http://www.fairport.ny.us/Electric_Rates.cfm
Residential – S.C. 1
Customer Charge (per month) $4.10
Energy Charge, per kwh
Non-Winter (April 1 to Nov 31) and first 1000 kwh (all months) $.03591
Winter (Dec 1 to March 31) usage over 1000 kwh $.05387​
Meanwhile, all of us with private electric in western NY are paying TRIPLE what they're paying. How do they do it??!
 

davmat787

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2010
5,514
24
76
DrPizza, how is your electricity produced, vs. that which your sister uses? I am not familiar with NY, are you and your sister far enough apart that she could have nuclear sourced electricity, while yours is coal? Or vice versa?

No idea why the disparity in prices, but it is hard to compare prices region to region, among different providers. While the product is the same, the provider/seller is not. Different stores, different prices. Does not seem that odd at face value.

Regardless, I would wager every single rate hike that led to you paying 3X was approved by your PUC or equivalent, for what that is worth. Would certainly be interesting to ask them the same question and see what they say.

Of course private providers have more incentive, perhaps pressure is more apt, to seek rate increases.
 
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dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,910
46
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
I skimmed this thread momentarily, and at first, found myself in agreement with those thinking the OP was an idiot; PUC and all that.

Then, I started thinking of my sister. She lives in Fairport, NY. Electricity is publicly owned and operated.
http://www.fairport.ny.us/Electric_Rates.cfm

Meanwhile, all of us with private electric in western NY are paying TRIPLE what they're paying.

How do they do it??!
:cool: You enjoying sending all those CEO's on trips to Monaco?
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
First where I live we have municipal power, and the county next door has private power, their is a close to a 40% difference in the price of our electric bill based on 750KWH of monthly use. We are around 32% lower in price.

Think about it, a private company must earn profit for its share holders, the government doesn't earn a profit, so less profit means less they need to charge you.
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
DrPizza, how is your electricity produced, vs. that which your sister uses? I am not familiar with NY, are you and your sister far enough apart that she could have nuclear sourced electricity, while yours is coal? Or vice versa?

No idea why the disparity in prices, but it is hard to compare prices region to region, among different providers. While the product is the same, the provider/seller is not. Different stores, different prices. Does not seem that odd at face value.

Regardless, I would wager every single rate hike that led to you paying 3X was approved by your PUC or equivalent, for what that is worth. Would certainly be interesting to ask them the same question and see what they say.

Of course private providers have more incentive, perhaps pressure is more apt, to seek rate increases.
These boards are usually filled with people connected to the industry, who just rubber stamp ever rate increase proposal.
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
Where I use to live those of us getting water though the private water company were paying 2 to 4 TIMES higher rates for water than near by areas with municipal water. While most areas were seeing $20 to $40 dollar a month bills for water use, our area was getting around $80 a month for water.
 

QuantumPion

Diamond Member
Jun 27, 2005
6,017
1
76
I skimmed this thread momentarily, and at first, found myself in agreement with those thinking the OP was an idiot; PUC and all that.

Then, I started thinking of my sister. She lives in Fairport, NY. Electricity is publicly owned and operated.
http://www.fairport.ny.us/Electric_Rates.cfmMeanwhile, all of us with private electric in western NY are paying TRIPLE what they're paying. How do they do it??!
You are surprised that electricity costs more in NY than SC? Really?

Well, in case you weren't being sarcastic - it's simply supply and demand. You have higher (regional) population density, combined with limited generation and transmission supply (due to government regulations).
 

QuantumPion

Diamond Member
Jun 27, 2005
6,017
1
76
Where I use to live those of us getting water though the private water company were paying 2 to 4 TIMES higher rates for water than near by areas with municipal water. While most areas were seeing $20 to $40 dollar a month bills for water use, our area was getting around $80 a month for water.
From the same water source? Or was the municipal water supply a river while the private company had to pump it from the ground? Was the municipal supply subsidized by taxes? There are a lot of missing details here.
 

QuantumPion

Diamond Member
Jun 27, 2005
6,017
1
76
Think about it, a private company must earn profit for its share holders, the government doesn't earn a profit, so less profit means less they need to charge you.
You have a astoundingly, profoundly warped view of how the world works.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,151
9
81
Change your state government to be of the people, for the people, by the people.
easier said then done. I suspect that the time of "of the people, for the people, by the people" has passed. money rules and those with the money make the rules. Corporations pretty much control the goverment. When you have them writing laws and getting them passed that help them and hurt competition you know there is a problem.

i don't think anything short of a full scale civil war is going to change it either. so in other words? it won't happen anytime in my or my grandkids lifetime.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,320
2
0
I skimmed this thread momentarily, and at first, found myself in agreement with those thinking the OP was an idiot; PUC and all that.

Then, I started thinking of my sister. She lives in Fairport, NY. Electricity is publicly owned and operated.
http://www.fairport.ny.us/Electric_Rates.cfmMeanwhile, all of us with private electric in western NY are paying TRIPLE what they're paying. How do they do it??!
You are more than likely using National Grid in Western NY, same as we have here in Syracuse. The problem is a lot of smaller municipalities and even Canadian companies own parts of Niagara Falls and power generators along quite a few rivers. A lot of them own a LOT more than their municipalities will ever use so they in turn sell the excess power to National Grid at a fixed rate set by the NYPA (New York Power Authority) so National Grid in turn has to charge high rates and high delivery charges to make money.

I actually lived in Solvay for 3 years which is one of the municipalities that sells electricity back to National Grid. Their rates were $0.039 kwh and $5-$10 electric bills were the norm for a 1 bedroom apartment. Highest bill I ever saw was $35 keeping in mind it can get down to -10 here and everything in that apartment, heat, hot water, stove & oven were electric. I now have a 3 bedroom house and my bills can sometimes get near $300
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
From the same water source? Or was the municipal water supply a river while the private company had to pump it from the ground? Was the municipal supply subsidized by taxes? There are a lot of missing details here.
Yes it is the same source, we all get it from the river. The private company had more than doubled rates in a span of a year before I left.
 

QuantumPion

Diamond Member
Jun 27, 2005
6,017
1
76
Yes it is the same source, we all get it from the river. The private company had more than doubled rates in a span of a year before I left.
That is still not enough information. Your example is not just anecdotal, but preposterously so. With no source or explanation your claim is meaningless. It would be like me claiming that under Obama my taxes went up, without mentioning the fact that it was because I got a raise or sold a house.
 

Capt Caveman

Lifer
Jan 30, 2005
34,553
651
126
WTF! A private utility dropping rates!!! They should be raising rates to increase profits. Oh noes!!!

Local to me - http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/hingham/2012/08/aquarion_to_reduce_water_rates.html

Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset can expect to see a reduction in their water rates after the towns’ water supplier announced that it will refinance some of its debt.

According to a press release issued by Aquarion Water Co., the organization is refinancing the $30 million debt for its Hingham Water Treatment Plant, which was built in 1995.

The action will save the company approximately $800,000 a year, and all of the savings will be passed on to the customer, Aquarion officials said.

As a result, the 7,835 customers in Hingham, 4,580 customers in Hull, and 325 customers in Cohasset can expect to see a 7 to 9 percent decrease in their annual water rates, a savings that would be approximately $60 a year for the average customer bill.

“As prudent businesspeople, we continue to look for ways to do what’s best for our customers, while reviewing all facets of our operations for savings opportunities,” said Aquarion President and CEO Charles V. Firlotte in a release. “Given the volatility of the market and with interest rates at their lowest levels, now seemed like the most appropriate time to examine our financing options and restructure the debt.”

John Walsh, vice president of operations for Massachusetts, was not immediately available for comment. However, Hingham Selectman Bruce Rabuffo said he wasn’t surprised the company took a look at its debt.

“Our financial analysis uncovered the fact that the current interest they were paying was in excess of 7 percent. In this day of low interest rates, that surprised us, but that all tied back to the decision to build a treatment plant,” Rabuffo said. “It doesn’t surprise me that they are [refinancing]. It could be a sign as they get heir costs under control.”

Hingham officials have been examining Aquarion's operations as it considers whether to purchase the water infrastructure from the company. Rabuffo was hesitant to say if the decision to refinance the debt, and subsequently reduce water rates, was related to the potential purchase.

Moving forward, however, reducing costs is a good move for a company that wants to keep its customers on board, Rabuffo said.

“Anything that contains their costs is a step in the right direction, assuming the ratepayer gets the benefit. Certainly some of the actions they have taken of late would express for me why they are not for sale. They think they can do a good job, so we will see,” Rabuffo said.
 

dmcowen674

No Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
54,910
46
91
www.alienbabeltech.com
I suspect that the time of "of the people, for the people, by the people" has passed.

money rules and those with the money make the rules.

Corporations pretty much control the goverment.

When you have them writing laws and getting them passed that help them and hurt competition you know there is a problem.

i don't think anything short of a full scale civil war is going to change it either. so in other words? it won't happen anytime in my or my grandkids lifetime.
Odd, I thought you 100% disagreed with me?
 

Acanthus

Lifer
Aug 28, 2001
19,915
2
76
ostif.org
If it had to refund it then it did not actually make it huh?

Seems like that mis-estimated their costs vs. prices and the regulatory bodies took care of everything.
That is true, and it how the regulatory body is supposed to work.

It does not work that way in a lot of areas in the US, however.

Someone asked for an example of excessive profits and I gave an example.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Administrator
Mar 5, 2001
49,612
162
111
www.slatebrookfarm.com
You are surprised that electricity costs more in NY than SC? Really?

Well, in case you weren't being sarcastic - it's simply supply and demand. You have higher (regional) population density, combined with limited generation and transmission supply (due to government regulations).
Are you trying to say that Fairport, NEW YORK is in South Carolina? I'm comparing rates of neighboring communities. There are a lot of communities in NY that operate their own municipal power authorities. Everyone that I'm aware of charges less than 50% what the big companies charge. I'm not saying that there's some sort of conspiracy; I'm merely wondering why this is the case.
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
Here is a comparison of my Municipal Electric power with various private and public ones.

https://www.smud.org/en/residential/customer-service/rate-information/rate-comparison.htm

SMUD $91.80
L.A. Dept. of Water & Power $100.68
Roseville Electric $106.43
PG&E $133.92
Modesto Irrigation District $134.53
Southern California Edison $128.26
San Diego Gas & Electric $129.58
SMUD, L.A, Roseville, and Modesto are Municipal Power, while the others are private or investor owned utilities. We can clearly see on average the Municipal powers are significantly cheaper. PG&E provides power to the area right next to SMUD and Roseville.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,212
126
You are more than likely using National Grid in Western NY, same as we have here in Syracuse. The problem is a lot of smaller municipalities and even Canadian companies own parts of Niagara Falls and power generators along quite a few rivers. A lot of them own a LOT more than their municipalities will ever use so they in turn sell the excess power to National Grid at a fixed rate set by the NYPA (New York Power Authority) so National Grid in turn has to charge high rates and high delivery charges to make money.

I actually lived in Solvay for 3 years which is one of the municipalities that sells electricity back to National Grid. Their rates were $0.039 kwh and $5-$10 electric bills were the norm for a 1 bedroom apartment. Highest bill I ever saw was $35 keeping in mind it can get down to -10 here and everything in that apartment, heat, hot water, stove & oven were electric. I now have a 3 bedroom house and my bills can sometimes get near $300

Theres your answer Doc. I too have RG&E and pay high rates. Many local systems exist simply because they can. They generate much of their own power or own a substantial portion of the hydro power in western ny. They have cheap power to begin with and while they are physically connected to it, they are effectively off grid. We have to by from an inherently expensive grid system. They enjoy what I propose for domestic oil production. Public resources produced for cost plus a fee, completely removed from market forces including speculation. No one even here is interested.
 

DCal430

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2011
6,020
9
81
The city and county next to mines, which currently has an investor owned electric utility attempted to use eminent domain to seize the assets of the private utility in the area. It needed to be approve by the public, and the GREEDY private utility spent millions to get people to vote no. The election laws prevented the government from spending the peoples money on complaining for a yes vote though, so the TV and Radio ads were all from the GREEDY investor owned utility. The GREEDY Investor Owned Utility won, and the people lost.
 

SparkyJJO

Lifer
May 16, 2002
13,358
6
81
"Regulated" Utilities earn lots of profits, PG&E earned around 2 billion in profit in 2011, out of 15 billion in revenue. I think a 1% profit margin is better. So they do earn a significant profit. Around 10 to 20% profit.
Do you have any idea how much money it takes to start up the next phase of a plant upgrade/maintenance/construction/etc (some of which forced by environmental stuff btw, those coal plant stack scrubbers are not cheap)? Yeah, they may make a "ton" of profit, but then a ton of that goes back into the company to keep things going. If you don't have enough profit eventually you'll not have enough to upgrade/expand/rebuild stuff and you're screwed.

You act like electric generation is a small thing. It is extremely expensive.
 

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