It's now thought that last week's blackout started in Ohio, but the real question is, why did it spread so far and wide? In 2002, the British company National Grid merged with Niagara Mohawk to create "NiMo," the 9th largest utility in the U.S., serving 3.3 million people in the New England/New York area. Is this the grid that failed? Author Greg Palast wrote, "?After government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk?with fines and penalties?the industry leaders got together to swear never to break the regulations again. Their plan was not to follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They called it 'deregulation'?And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're reading this by candlelight tonight."
In 1990, Enron was formed, Palast says, "And so began an economic disease called 'regulatory reform' that spread faster than SARS?The USA had gotten used to cheap power available at the flick of switch" thanks to government regulation put through by FDR. According to Palast, "?Regulators told utilities exactly how much they had to spend to insure the system stayed in repair and the lights stayed on."
Energy deregulation was pushed through congress by the first President Bush. But the states had to agree to deregulation too, so companies started with the biggest energy user of all: California. When it capitulated, the lights started going out.
"Meanwhile," Palast says, "The deregulation bug made it to New York where Republican Governor George Pataki and his industry-picked utility commissioners?relieved my old friends at Niagara Mohawk of the expensive obligation to properly fund the maintenance of the grid system?They allowed a foreign company, the notoriously incompetent National Grid of England, to buy up NiMo?The free-market British buckaroos controlling Niagara Mohawk raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and CLICK!?New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages."
To read his article,click here.
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