Take Action Archive

Letter to the Editor from Censys President
submitted to State Journal Register – July 19, 2007


I whole-heartedly agree with Adrianne Swartz of Petersburg when she points out that Walter Williams’s column on “free markets” is bogus. Lets skip the name calling where everyone who advocates market regulation is either playing God or being a tyrant, and move to the heart of the matter: “free” markets can be dangerous. As Adrianne said those markets are being “regulated” by someone and if is not “us” as the government then it is corporate executives who have shown (Enron) that they do not have our safety and health as their primary concerns. You need only to look as far as the Residential Electricity market in Illinois to see the wisdom of her words.
Even as the evidence rolled in that Deregulation was a really really bad idea with Airlines and Banks going bankrupt and many other corporations being eaten up in mergers, electricy deregulation was proposed and adopted by the State of Illinois. While that deregulation may have been good for some large corporations that are large users it was a looming disaster for the Residential Market. This is a fragile market that has always required vigilance on the part of every regulatory body in the state lest the utilities engage in price gouging. Well the rules came off in 2007 and the free market advocates promptly trashed the market, charging rates that no one could afford and leading to the circus in the legislature that we have now. This was a bad idea from beginning to end.

The comments from the industry were telling. At a hearing when asked by a Senator, the head of Commonwealth Edison said “he did not care how much the generators charged for electricity because they just pass the price on to customers”. They just don’t care. An important executive from Ameren was asked at another hearing if the company had ever calculated people’s bills to see what the rate increase would mean for them. That person said, “no why would they, what’s the point”. Yet they were willing to spend tons of money on ads that said the increase would be a dollar a day. I guess they didn’t bother to say that it would be 365 dollars every month. Just as a final example and there are many, I asked a utility lobbyist what a widowed senior citizen on a fixed income should do with bills she couldn’t pay. He said, “she should sell her house and move in with her kids”. Very nice.

Walter Williams is wrong; these “markets” need to be regulated and regulated hard, because as Adrianne says they are made and run by men who may not have our best interest at heart. Join us at www.censys.org.
Doug Nicodemus

Letter to the Editor from Censys President
State Journal Register – June 6, 2007

Keep up legislative fight for electric rate relief

I am writing to thank Rep. George Scully, Jr. and Sen. Gary Forby for continuing to lead the legislative fight in the General Assembly for electric rate relief.

By Rep. Bradley’s reckoning, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren have taken $1 billion from the people of Illinois, and by the end of the year it will be $2,2 billion. This will crush Illinois’ economy, destroy our senior citizens and the poor, and deny many people energy services. That is in the first year of an unapproved rate hike. What will next year bring?

To the members of the General Assembly who backed them: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing the right thing. The utility companies long ago abandoned the bankruptcy argument and are now talking lawsuits and delay. This is, of course, a lie.

If it’s the $2.2 billion generator tax that they will sue over, they will lose quickly. When was the last time a court repealed a uniform tax? Never.

If it is the “freeze” (whether the one-year or the three-year) that they will sue over, they will lose pretty quickly too.

The General Assembly is the ultimate regulator for commerce within the state. When was the last time the courts overturned a commerce regulation passed by the General Assembly? I couldn’t find one. Keep up the good fight; the people of Illinois need you.
Doug Nicodemus

Letter to the Editor from Censys President
State Journal Register – June 4, 2007

Madigan correct to sue utilities

I am writing this letter to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her staff for their efforts to force the utility companies into a fair and reasonable rate structure.

Her lawsuit against the ICC for allowing a rate hike by deferment without certifying that the residential market was competitive goes directly to the heart of the matter. This “competitive certification” requirement is clearly stated in the “deregulation” legislation and is clearly being violated by the utility companies.

The utility companies pushed all electric homes off on unsuspecting customers for two years when they well knew that their rate structures were going to become prohibitive for those owners.

They were still advertising those programs just days before they raised rates. Thanks again, Attorney General Madigan. The people of Illinois need you.
Doug Nicodemus