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

Higher Electric Bill?
Blame Wall Street!

Sep 3, 2012

Our electric bills get higher and higher. And one reason is that Wall Street banks are in the electricity business–adding hundreds of millions of dollars of profit to the billions they already make from fees, loans, mortgages, government bailouts, etc.

It wouldn’t be half as bad if they actually sold electricity. No, they get paid millions of dollars for just pretending that they can sell.

Yes, it’s a scam–designed for those who have the means to enter the markets where electricity is bought and sold daily.

In 2005, JP Morgan Chase set up an energy trading arm to do just that. Then, for years, this “JP Morgan Ventures Energy Corp.” got paid millions and millions of dollars to deliver electricity without delivering one kilowatt. In just six months in 2010 and 2011, JP Morgan collected at least 57 million dollars–which electricity customers have paid for, of course.

JP Morgan used this scam against the Independent System Operator (ISO), which runs the electricity market for California, and the ISO for 11 Midwest states, from Michigan to Montana. How many other big banks and companies have been doing the same thing? And exactly how much have they stolen from ratepayers?

No one knows. But Deutsche Bank, too, is under investigation for manipulating the California market, and Constellation Energy agreed to pay a 245-million-dollar fine last March for doing the same kind of thing in New York. The ISO noticed JP Morgan’s scam in March 2011–and set new rules–only to watch JP Morgan come back 10 days later, collecting more than five million dollars in five days by manipulating another loophole!

You can make millions of dollars a day in these “electricity markets,” where you don’t have to sell electricity at all. But ONLY IF you OWN a bank. ONLY IF you have money, that is. Big money.

This is how capitalism works. Money makes money, just like that. And who pays the price? Working people, who keep seeing their bills go up and their pay go down–just so that these scam artists, these thieves, can get even richer, even more quickly.

When you have a parasite in your intestines, living off you, you do all you can to send it down the toilet. These bigger parasites, who call themselves “entrepreneurs” and other such fancy names, deserve nothing less.