By David Glenn Cox
I’m thinking of starting a new business. Tar & Feathers.com. Discount prices direct to you! Ask about our fence rail specials for free shipping! In the face of insane and ridiculous billing due to a Texas winter storm. The state’s Public Utilities Commission has voted to let stand the 16 billion dollars in spurious charges against the state’s residents. Imagine getting a $10,000 power bill and being told. “Yep, that’s right!” by the Public Utilities Commission. The Utilities Commission argues that if the bills don’t stand as printed utilities could lose money and go broke. Ignoring that the line to bankruptcy court will soon surround the courthouse several times.
Hundreds of thousands if not millions of Texans simply trying to feed a family and keep a job. “Sure, what’s wrong with a $10,000 power bill? We are willing to let you make payments. How about an extra $1,000 per month until we get this caught up?” I can see a power company foreman briefing his team, “Okay, we are going to be very busy. We have a 150,000 disconnects to do this week.” A state in the Union returning to the 19th Century. “Welcome to Texas Federal, open any checking or savings account with $200 or more and receive a free kerosene lamp!” In the end, the power companies will either have to eat it or shut off millions.
I imagine the home generator market is exploding in Texas right now. Heavily laden tractors trailers are streaming south loaded with product at this very minute. Factories running nights and weekends, technicians worn to a frazzle trying to fill the demand. “Yes sir, that’s correct this $10,000 home generator system will pay for itself in just one month! Funny thing about power companies or cable TV, it’s really only profitable if everyone signs up. Power companies routinely charge rural customers thousands of dollars to run new lines. A mile of powerline cost the same with one customer on it or a hundred.
Tens of thousands of new home generators in upscale suburbs means power companies will find it even harder to turn a profit having driven off 30% of the market and shut off the other 70%. “Supper’s ready! Pull the car up to the dining room window, so we can see to eat.” Ironic that Elon Musk wants to build batteries in Texas, but can he get them charged there? Don’t you understand, we have stockholders who want their checks. So, if you would be so kind as to just pay us the $16 billion please? You can feed the kids and pay the rent some other time.
In corporate boardrooms memos circulate; RE: Closing the Texas Facility. At the absurd rate of $9.00 per kilowatt hour, you can’t cook a hamburger for less than six bucks. “Let’s see, four Big Mac’s and fries that’ll be $92.56.” Every factory in Texas is now a target for bean counters. Every factory in Texas is now the most inefficient in the company, and it can’t be fixed. In the face of a pandemic and an economic emergency the Texas Public Utilities Commission votes to nuke the state’s economy. Fantasy conjoined with a Marie Antoinette tone deafness. “They’ll just have to pay us, that’s that!” So, a Texan making $36,000 per year and bringing home less, is going to pay you one third of their annual income for one month’s electricity? Someone needs more light on the subject because they aren’t very bright.
Most people aren’t spoiling for a fight with the power company. You keep the juice flowing, and I’ll send a check. But when the Power Company fucks up and says, “Hey, we fucked up big time and boy are you going to be mad!” Then run for cover to their big brother the Public Utilities Commission and hides behind their skirts. Somewhere buried in the text is a provision which guarantees under law the right of any power generator to recoup for any and all costs for services rendered. The power company says, “Stick em up!” and the Public Utilities Commission says, “Yeah, you heard em, stick em up!”
Obviously to any laymen that will not work. You can’t just declare a Viking approach, hobble the economy kill everyone and shout, “let’s go.” It’s not that they won’t pay you; they can’t pay you. And by declaring that they must pay you doesn’t change that. Energy criminals soaking up the kilowatts and refusing to pay a poor unsuspecting power company. A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities, “please sir, can I have some more electricity.” Texas school children doing their homework by streetlight. Unless of course the city can’t pay their $1.2 billion dollar power bill from last month.
Price gouging is price gouging, no matter what it says in the law book. Horse thievery is horse thievery even if you call it unauthorized alternative ownership in a law book. I’ve lived in Texas, and I’ve known a lot of Texans and if think you can go shoving an outlandish bill in their face while saying, “Here, let me ruin your life for you.” Trust me, they will take it the wrong way. That’s why Republicans often say, “That’s why Frank Lloyd Wright should have stuck to building airplanes.”
A lesson in applied lunacy; Chapter Three: No way to run a railroad. Under my plan we can outrage them with huge bills and then enrage them to a fever pitch by showing our general lack of remorse. We will send a message to corporate America that our power grid unreliable and if the lights ever do go off you probably couldn’t afford to turn them back on. And finally, the most important lesson most Texans should absorb from this fiasco. Their state government sides with the company even when the company tries to rob and kill them. And so, Tar & Feathers.com is born. Discount prices direct to you! Ask about our fence rail specials for free shipping!