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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Consumer Ripoff by the Utility Companies

I started in 1977 making  the statement that nuclear power plants had the possibility of being dangerous.  I wrote: “The Nuclear Catastrophe”,  a fiction novel of suspense  and survival.  It foretold the idea  that an earthquake might cause the  control rods in a nuclear plant to become frozen in place and could no longer be used to control the speed of the nuclear decay of the fuel …… with an explosion and fires resulting….and the release of radioactive matter into the atmosphere, the water, the soils, the people etc.  That was just what happened in March of 20ll in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Then as time went on I wondered why an executive at the Southern California Gas Company , married to a sister of my friend could afford to build one of the largest homes in Palos Verdes Estates (Southern California) while we were in our 40’s and still establishing our careers.  What did he do at this utility to earn so much money?  And later in Thousand Oaks, California, a water executive retired at an early age with a one million dollar bonus  (I think he had not taken vacation time – is that worth one million tax payer dollars – is not vacation absence work needs  covered by the other workers?).

Then my real estate career took off and I was busy with that and my family.  When the Fukshima Nuclear Catastrophe happened in March 2011 I googled the name of my novel (which was out of print, but had been purchased by many libraries).  It was still being sold as a used book by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and survival sites.  So, over a period of time, I updated it and brought it out again as a 3rd edition in EBook and paperback formats.  (

Now I was interested in not only nuclear problems, but the whole concept of public utilities and what they are up to WITH OUR MONEY.  Utilities are a monopoly.   About ten  years ago in California, someone decided to let electricity be sold to private companies and let those companies resell  it to consumers on a competitive basis.  Since I  managed apartment complexes, I loved it…..the utility bills at these complexes went down about 50%.  But someone important must have been losing money because that whole deal was abruptly cancelled and once again I had one company only that I could buy from at their prescribed mandatory rate.

And where does that rate come from?  There is a Public Utilities Commission.  And an advocate for the consumer (available for complaints).  Have you EVER gotten a response from the Public Utiities Commission or the consumer advocate?  I HAVE NOT AND I HAVE COPIES OF THE LETTERS AND FORMS I HAVE FILLED OUT AND SENT.

Published in the LA Times on 12/29/12 page A14 is the following statement:  “Utilities charge ratepayers for every dollar spent…for which the state of California guarantees utilities an annual return of 11% for 40 years”.  That guaranteed return is paid by YOU, THE UTILITY USER!.

And what return is available to you, the utility user, in your investments?  1/10 of one percent to 1% at a local bank. 4 to 5% in tax free bonds (some are insured).    Even junk bonds don’t pay much more in today’s economy.  SO WHY ARE UTILTIES GETTING 11% GUARANTEED FOR 40 YEARS?  Because they can, or have, or have someone in their  pocket.  Our state and federal deficits are HUGE.  I continually hear that we will have to cut medicare.  What about cutting the UTILTIES hold on us?  We are a prisoner that no one is interested in paroling.

I wrote the Public Utilities Commission and stated that our local water company (a public company) had shown profit increases of 20% per year and they were still increasing rates.  NO RESPONSE.  My water bill started out at $500 per month in the summer and went up to $3000 per month in the summer within 5 years, until I  gave up and started letting things die.  I certainly would not want to interfere with their necessary increased profits by demanding reasonable water rates.

Have you heard the rumor that the Japanese Mafia controls their nuclear/electric production?  And that is why even though they experienced the horrific  Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs, there are still  public officials making the statements that they “cannot do without nuclear”.  It is my understanding that all their nuclear plants were shut down for almost a year after the disaster…..and they still had enough electricity for the nation.  Nuclear plants require a large investment of money – and then return a large amount of dollars to their owners.  Big Bucks for Big People.  What about the rest of us – the consumers who pay to make this happen.  We need to make our displeasure a priority. Cut utility returns in half and give half  of the savings to the consumer and half to the government and we would, as a nation, come out ahead.

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