Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bring on the electricity competition!

As seen in the Olympics these last two weeks, competition brings out the best in everyone. Skaters squabble, ice dancers tumble, and snowboarders wipe out ... all in the name of elbowing out the other guy for glory. Now Illinois residents must choose whether or not to allow their electricity suppliers to compete, all for their benefit and amusement.

Currently, Exelon/ComEd is the most profitable electric utility in the entire US and is actually cutting rates in other parts of the country like Pennsylvania (source). Unfortunately, the company is nowhere near as profitable as, say, Exxon Mobil, and this threatens CEO pensions. I'll let you investigate the two sides, then I'll explain why I support one of them.

Side 1: More competition in Illinois' electric market is good for consumers ... bringing consumers the lowest available market price.

Side 2: Don't be shocked by your electric bill! Support House Bill 1944: Let's stay the course and continue to support affordable rates for customers who literally have no other options.

I personally love competition. Since I happened to mention Exxon Mobil, let me show you the types of choices the free market is able to provide the customer.

Your SUV's gas tank is on empty. Where do you go to fill up? With so many choices in the city, here's what you'll find:

Lowest Regular Gas Prices in the Last 24 Hours
  • Shell station at Clark and Devon: $2.39.
  • Citgo station at Nagle and Northwest Highway: $2.39.
  • Marathon station at 7159 W. Higgins: $2.39.
  • BP station at Lawrence and the Kennedy Expressway: $2.39.
  • Shell station at 7201 W. Higgins: $2.34.
So there you have it! The free market works. If your Ford will make it to the far northwest side, you can save a nickel. Choices like these are what we need in the electricity market.

Need more evidence? OK, why is it that when I want new cell phone service, I can choose between the $30 plan from one company and the comparable $29.99 plan from another? That's consumer choice in action! Also, when I get junk mail that says Company X can save me $300 on my auto insurance and so I call them, it turns out that they would actually save me $5 every six months? So many choices! (Meanwhile, I remember living in Massachusetts back in the mid-90s, where they had government-controlled auto insurance rates, and those were literally half what I was paying in Illinois at the time.)

I think the choice is clear. When companies compete, they win.


Blogger art attack said...

I agree. The consumer always gets screwed. Back in the day, the monopolies set the price and screwed the consumer and now the many competing companies drive prices down a bit until the prices go down enough to make things affordable so then they buy each other out so they can get back to screwing the consumer. And the government officals sit back and take as many donations from the big boys and threaten to allow compention (not really) and as always, allow the consumers to get screwed.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

I'm very curious as to why Chicago and cook county gas prices typically rate the highest in the nation? Do you have any idea what the tax mark up is? You have to to love cook county.

Everyone should read this article on The Tribune endorsing Claypool or Stroger for Cook County President.,1,4328629.story

I truly like this particular excerpt.

"During a telling moment in January 2005, Stroger let slip his vision of how to cover the county's exorbitant personnel costs. At the time, he wanted authority to levy new taxes on cell phones, pagers and other telecom devices. Asked if Cook County provides any services whatsoever to the citizens he was seeking to gouge, Stroger replied with welcome candor: "We would like to get their money from a tax."

8:56 AM  
Blogger kevin said...

Perhaps the glory days of cheap gas in America are over. I suppose the upside to high gas prices (if there is one) is that they will hopefully force consumers and auto makers to be less wasteful with what little petroleum based fuel is left on the planet.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous andy planet said...

I'll be happy when gas prices are as high as they are in Europe. I'll also be happy when consumers demand, and car makers build, cars that use alternative fuels, and not just these damn hybrids that get the same fuel rating that my '95 Civiv VX used to get (50+ highway, 42 city).

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

While you make fun of the News @ am 780 they do a regular update of cheap gas prices on the air and they also have a direct link on their web site.

1:14 PM  
Blogger ap said...

I've never once in my life made fun of Newsradio 78 seconds. My haikus were an attempt to condense news into tiny snippets that anyone could digest.

3:06 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

You can find cheap gas
Traffic, weather on the eights
At 780

4:11 PM  
Blogger lady j said...

while you're talking about cell phones and taxes here... have you ever realized that you pay taxes out the nose on cell phones? it's something like 17% in Illinois. which is how my $39.99/mo plan +$5 text package can come to $52 every goddamned month.

but ahoy... cell phone taxes are not 17% in every state! no!
great article about it here

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is Andy?

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy hasn't posted in a while. He must be stuck under a heavy object, trapped and unable to call for help. I hope that someone discovers him before he starves to death.
Maybe he's sawing off his right arm with a pen knife as we speak. What a crappy way to celebrate a birthday.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous mayor daley said...

Happy birthday, Andy!

What's the matter, you run out of things to bitch about?

10:26 PM  
Blogger Jenska said...

What's the deal? I leave for a week and come back to find the blog retired?

6:05 PM  
Anonymous judy baar topinka said...


11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Booo! Booo!
We want the Daley Show back.
Too bad that this blog was all or nothing. Wouldn't it be nice to see posts once and a while rather than never?
The primaries sucked extra hard with no Daley Show. Oh, but they could have been fun.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Every morning I wake up crying, hoping for the Daley Show's return. I need my daily (er, Daley?) fix!
Well, if it's officially retired, can I steal its stolen satirical format? Just curious.

12:18 PM  

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