Midwest power company puts profit before enviroment.

From Slashdot:

“Xcel Energy customers who have their own solar panels are worried about a new fee being proposed by the company. A monthly fee to pay for transmission and distribution of energy would be charged to customers who have solar panels, irrespective of their energy use for the month. An Xcel Energy spokesman said the fee is to ensure that regular customers don’t subsidize the ‘connectivity fees’ for the solar panel customers who don’t pay when they generate as much as they use. When pressed, the spokesman admitted that nobody actually pays a ‘connectivity fee,’ yet they wanted to prevent the mooching from occurring in the future (presumably when they hit everyone with such a fee). He also called the absence of a connectivity fee for solar customers a ‘double subsidy’ because many solar customers receive rebates to install the panels.”

I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to wrap my brain around all the different aspects of this discussion. The thing that I can’t seem to figure out is why are so many of you coming to the defense of the corporate conglomerate? They have a legal monopoly and you’re concerned that they’re going to lose money because some dude slaps a solar panel on his roof? Just doesn’t make any sense.

Everyone just loves capitalism, and socialism is the dirtiest new four letter word. What makes capitalism so great is that it governs itself just as long as you stand back and don’t try to fuck with it.

A simple example is if you go to Home Depot and buy 100 bags of manure to fertilize your crops and every week you go back in and they’ve raised the price of that manure another quarter. Sooner or later that manure is going to be so expensive you’re going to find a cheaper way to get your manure.

So you buy yourself some cattle, they’re expensive, but sooner or later you end up with a surplus, and even sell off some of that surplus to Home Depot for half of what they sell it for. They go on to sell it to others at a 100% profit. There’s capitalism, and it’s worked itself out.

But now Home Depot’s knocking on your door talking about how you’re not buying manure from them anymore and they can’t turn a profit unless you continue to pay them. They cite how they’ve still got to maintain their store, even though you’re no longer using it, so you’re obligated to pay a minimum monthly fee for having the ability to go get your manure from them should you run out at any time during the month.

Of course we wouldn’t let this happen, Home Depot just isn’t that powerful. What makes it okay for the Power Company to do it and for so many people to stand up in their defense and say it’s okay? Especially with global warming finally gaining legitimacy, and it becoming clear that we need to move fast to change the way we live before we run out of time to be successful. We need to be making it cheaper to use renewable energy, not financially prohibitive.

I can see how the Power Company wouldn’t be trilled about losing customers, so why don’t they start producing renewable energy themselves, the bigger the equipment, the more efficient it usually is, so that people don’t feel the need to do it themselves?

However, instead of the Power Company figuring out cheaper ways to make electricity, they just submit requests to raise their rates any time their costs go up. Eventually making it not a whole lot more expensive to buy a few solar panels and a battery backup. Having a added benefit of being “Green”.

When the Power Company opened it’s doors they had the idea that it was a fool-proof business plan:

“We have a constantly growing customer base with no chance of losing those customers. We will submit a rate hike whenever our costs go up, so no need to worry about figuring out better ways to do things, and will always turn a profit. What a great business we’re getting into!”

Well, something’s happened that they never imagined would happen. They lost a customer to Solar and now they’re trying to figure out a way to make it cost too much to operate solar panels so that they don’t lose any more.

As long as we protect old business models that are no longer working very well, new business models will never be allowed to succeed. But this seems to be the way America works nowadays. General Motors was making cars that Americans didn’t want to buy anymore because the price of fuel went up and people started buying foreign cars that were more efficient and instead of GM building more efficient cars, they got a huge bail-out from the tax payers who were the ones who didn’t want to buy their cars anymore in the first place.

We can’t continue to protect failing industries, else we’ll end up destroying ourselves. The only way our economy is going to recover is to let capitalism kill the dying so it can give birth to the strong.


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