Feb 5, 2001
People in northern California have been suffering rolling electricity black-outs, as the full force of deregulation begins to take hold.
Other states' utilities –Michigan among them –rushed to say, "It can't happen here."
But now the first phase of natural gas deregulation is coming to an end in Michigan. This was the three-year price freeze designed to convince us deregulation is a good thing. Phase 2 begins on April 1, April Fools Day for sure. On that day, the freeze ends. The gas companies have already announced they want to double their prices immediately.
MichCon's vice president of public affairs said, "If you fix a price, you make it hard for people to come in." He meant, hard for MichCon and all the other companies to elbow up to the trough for their share of that doubled price.
In other words, the consumer has to pay double for deregulation, so that several more companies can profit more and put less money into pumping stations, pipelines, and equipment.
One of these winters, there will no doubt be "rolling freeze-outs" in Michigan. MichCon has already demonstrated that making money takes priority over keeping people warm.