The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Blackouts:
The Mark of a System Run for Profit

Aug 24, 2020

California’s three biggest utility companies cut power to more than 410,000 customers in “rolling blackouts”on the evening of August 14.

What followed is a picture of chaos: State agencies responsible for managing and regulating California’s electricity network pointing fingers at each other; state politicians like Governor Newsom stepping on the podium to wag a finger at all of those agencies; and commentators still scratching their heads as to why hundreds of thousands of people were left without electricity in the middle of a severe heat wave.

As for the three big utility companies responsible for supplying 80% of California’s electricity—it turns out they have retired several power plants over the last five years, reducing capacity by the amount of power used by 7 million homes!

These companies have not been spending enough money to maintain their networks either, as wildfires caused by aged and poorly maintained power lines showed in recent years.

These huge, investor-owned companies make such decisions for one reason only—to maximize profit. And in the end that’s where the real problem is: The supply of electricity to 40 million Californians depends on the decisions made by a few executives in a few corporate boardrooms, for the sole purpose of making a small number of very wealthy shareholders even wealthier!