Free Market?

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  1. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago

    An interesting debate is going on here in Massachusetts.

    Last week, a portion of Boston lost power for 3 days.
    The mayor is arguing that N-Star electric should pay for the damage done to the ciy, the cost of police, and the loss of business revenue due to
    no electricity.

    N-Star...the one and only electric supplier...a monopoly....says they are not paying.

    Since they have the sole priviledge of being the electric supplier---they make all the profit, get all the business....Shouldn't they then be responsible when mistakes happen?

    Why should the city and people who do business there pay for the mistakes of N-Star? Especially when they have no other choices?

    Maybe instead of Crony Capitalism, we should call it Cry-Baby Capitalism..wink

    They are talking about it here, in case you're interested..mayor is coming on!

    1. aguasilver profile image70
      aguasilverposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Damn fool thing to let anyone other than the government (the people) own any utility company anyway, by all means contract out the operation of a utility company, but the ownership should stay with the people.

      1. lovemychris profile image75
        lovemychrisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I agree.
        I don't think nececessities of life have any business being for profit organizations.

        That includes heat and homes....unless you are paying to have luxury---be my guest.

        But there needs to be a basic requirement that all people are fed, housed, and warm. And have basic healthcare services too. You want luxury/designer?? Go for it! They will be there.

        But don't make basic care and dignity a profit-driven enterprise.


      2. Josak profile image60
        Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Agreed, haven't we learned by now that companies when given control of the things we need to live will abuse that power and shirk the responsibility?

  2. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago

    Hmmm, lost food too! Some people on fixed incomes only buy food once a month....what about them?? All their food ruined.


    THIS my friends is what is wrong with America!

    BECAUSE....if you don't pay your electricity bill...geuss what happens?

    1920's rule. No municipal companies allowed.


  3. UnnamedHarald profile image93
    UnnamedHaraldposted 11 years ago

    When ordinary people benefit, it decried as socialism. When business' benefit, it's called business.

  4. Eric Newland profile image60
    Eric Newlandposted 11 years ago

    Proof that the free market only works when there's competition. In fact, that's kind of the definition of free market. A monopoly excludes the free market. If anything this proves that more states need to implement a utility choice program.

    1. Eric Newland profile image60
      Eric Newlandposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well, there may be instances in which a choice program would be impractical. In those cases state-run utilities might be necessary, or else draw fiscal responsibility for blackouts into the contract so there's no debate in situations like this. Still, there are options.

      1. couturepopcafe profile image61
        couturepopcafeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        So more state employees, ok. I might be able to get on board with that. But what happens when the power goes out? Does the state (the people's taxes) pay for losses? It sort of amounts to the same problem but the people pay for the loss to businesses instead of the large profit entity paying for losses.

        And competing for profit utility companies aren't going to be any different. The power goes out and no one pays for losses regardless of whether we have a choice of company or not.

        1. Eric Newland profile image60
          Eric Newlandposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I'm not for it on principle, more of a "whatever keeps them honest" sort of thing. A contractual clause might be sufficient to avoid the finger-pointing game. But you're right. A government-owned monopoly is still a monopoly.

  5. Reality Bytes profile image76
    Reality Bytesposted 11 years ago

    National Grid (electric)




    All electric providers to Massachusetts?

  6. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago

    From my understanding, you can have different suppliers, but Nstar owns the electricity.
    ...At least in a large part of the state. WMECO is western Mass....that's out in the mountains.--that may be an owner-- But Boston, and Cape Cod...all you have is Nstar. You can have different suppliers---but the source for the electricity is nstar. … /about.asp

  7. Uninvited Writer profile image81
    Uninvited Writerposted 11 years ago

    In Ontario we now have several electricity providers now. Prices have not gone down, they have gone up. The service is not any better, actually worse since it's easier for companies to pass the buck.

    1. couturepopcafe profile image61
      couturepopcafeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly my thinking. They're still a necessity and still hold power over us. Pun intended.

  8. livewithrichard profile image74
    livewithrichardposted 11 years ago

    I don't see how the power company should be responsible for spoiled food or any loss of electricity.  The utility provides the customer electricity, what the customer does with that electricity is not the utilities responsibility.  The customer, in most places, only pays for electricity that is consumed and accounted for through meters. If the customer does not have a backup plan then that is their fault.   

    Places like hospitals know this which is why they have portable back up systems. All through out my city of Chicago, I help my clients obtain permits to install backup power generators. Some that could power an entire skyscraper.

    The way I see it, power is not a guarantee.  I know this first hand from being in a hurricane down on the gulf coast and being without power for over 3 weeks. The experience taught me lessons and the first thing I did once I was capable was go out and purchase 2 generators.

    The entire national grid is old and taxed in ways that most people just don't understand. A bird could fly into a transformer and cause it to explode thus killing the power to hundreds if not thousands depending on its location. It is that fragile.  Most people don't care about that. They pay their monthly $$$ and demand that they have a constant uninterrupted supply.  I wonder what would happen if all 400 apartments in my complex all turned on their AC units at the same time. I have no doubt that it would blow some transformers and we would all be without power for a while.  LOL I wonder this because it's the middle of March and it's been in the 80's here in Chicago.  Unheard of this time of year.

    1. lovemychris profile image75
      lovemychrisposted 11 years agoin reply to this is it my fault if I can't pay the bill??

      It's an agreement: We pay for a service, they provide it. If we don't pay---we don't get it.

      Conversely, if we don't get it....why should we pay?

      And the ceo makes 8 mil a year. All that money coming in when things are good, but no responsibilty when things go bad?

      It will be interesting to see what Menino does...people give him flack for a lot, but man--he's a hot blooded italian, and I mean that in a good way!

      1. livewithrichard profile image74
        livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Who else should take the blame if you consume more than you can afford? It's like saying I'm going to go max out my credit cards but I shouldn't have to pay the bill since the credit card company gave me the card anyway.

        The agreement is that you pay for what you use. You don't pay for what you don't use.  Electricity is metered and you only pay for the kwt hours you consume. Not a single person in Boston paid for electricity while it was out but N-Star paid 10's of thousands of man hours restoring that power.

        Don't understand what you mean by him having no responsibility. He was responsible to the shareholders, responsible to his employees, responsible to the communities affected.  It took over 1000 employees working around the clock for 3 days at an average pay rate of $32 an hour plus overtime and that doesn't even include the cost of material or support they needed to do their jobs.  Anyone that comes out against the utility is just political posturing.

        1. lovemychris profile image75
          lovemychrisposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          "Who else should take the blame if you consume more than you can afford?"

          Who else should take the blame for all those lost wages and lost income due to the power-outage, than the one who owns the monopoly on power??

          "N-Star paid 10's of thousands of man hours restoring that power."

          They SHOULD! It's their responsibility!

          But what of those people who lost hours, the businesses that lost income, the seniors who lost food?

          Why are they asked to foot the bill because N Star had a problem in the service they, and they alone, get to provide?

          1. livewithrichard profile image74
            livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            How about the business owners that DID NOT have a backup plan. Just because you pay for a service does not mean you get it uninterrupted 24/7. A reasonable amount of downtime is expected for maintenance and upgrades and emergencies. 

            But wait, you just said the CEO didn't take any responsibility and clearly he did.

            What bill are they being asked to foot? None of the cost of repairs.  The businesses that lost income foot their own bill for not having a backup, it's their mistake. It has nothing to do with having a competing utility when there is an emergency shut down.  That is what emergency generators are for. Hospitals, schools, and government buildings have these as well as many fincancial institutions.  Employees that lost hours of work should blame their employers for not investing in a backup generator instead of forking out all that $$$ for a company picnic... Seniors and anyone that lost food they couldn't afford to lose, while tragic, should go to the public services that are provided for such emergencies.  Grocery stores don't count, they should have been smart enough to have backup equipment installed.

            I don't think I'm being unrealistic at all.  I deal with these types of decisions from business owners every week. A business has to weigh the cost of investment against the potential for loss.  Many homeowners have to do the same.

  9. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago


    We are about as far apart in philosophy as can be. It's really evident to me day by day that there really is no middle ground here in America.

    Unbelievable to me: people who lost food due to a service provider should just go to a public service to get help.....

    And yet---these business/R types always say gvt is the problem!

    And all the police that had to keep vigil for nstar, all the roads that were torn up and have to be repaired...on the city too, huh?


  10. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago

    Capitalize the gain, Socialize the pain.


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