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RE: [hreg] FW: Your questions - comments

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  • Robert Johnston
    Sorry, Charlie.I wasn t at all trying to sound superior or condescending; I certainly wasn t feeling that way. It was actually a complement to your adherence
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 18, 2002
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      Sorry, Charlie…I wasn’t at all trying to sound superior or condescending; I certainly wasn’t feeling that way.  It was actually a complement to your adherence to your principles and vision.  We both are interested in renewable energy or we wouldn’t belong to HREG.  I think our political philosophies, particularly as they relate to large corporations, differ significantly.  But I respect you for following through on your principles.  The fact that you are willing to spend a small premium to support renewable energy is laudable, and I didn’t mean to imply that you were a sucker, but rather that you were true to your principles and were willing to be generous in that regard.  In my case, even though I would favor wind energy, I am not as committed to it as you are, at least to the extent of spending extra money for it.  So, if anything, I think my post on this forum was likely to be taken as a complement to you and a putdown for me.  At least that’s how I thought it would be perceived, but I guess I didn’t think right.  Wouldn’t be the first time, and won’t be the last…

       

      Robert

       

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: chasmauch@... [mailto:chasmauch@...]
      Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002 12:25 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] FW: Your questions - comments

       

      More on Robert's comments (sorry to let it pass so long but been real busy - only 18 days until election day).

      I think that Green Mountain needs to find a way to be price competitive with the other services.  For now, it probably makes sense for them to skim profits off the more altruistic customers like Charlie, but to capture my business, they need to be competitive.  My guess is that they don’t want to be price competitive because then they’d get more business than they have capacity for.  So if they are a reputable company here for the longhaul, they’ll be plowing the profits from Charlie et al. back into the business in the form of capital to expand their generating capacity and then lowering prices to expand market share.  If they are only interested in skimming easy money from the likes of Charlie, and not truly expanding the renewables market quickly, then I doubt we’ll see competitive pricing anytime soon.


      I detect a strong note of superiority and condescension here - that unrealistic, soft-headed tree huggers "the likes of Charlie" are willing to be ripped off by GM but hardheaded businessmen like Robert are not so easily taken in and demand the cheapest price the market can deliver. I suspect we have here a great believer in "free enterprise" and "free markets" who has faith in the ability of the invisible hand to guide us all to an unregulated nirvana. It is strange how deregulation usually seems to lead to incomprehensible situations such as the previously mentioned phone companies, cell phones, absurd pricing on airline tickets, savings and loan fiascoes, wild and senseless peaks and valleys in oil prices, and a long list of other areas where a bit of regulation lends some sanity to an otherwise incredibly complicated and often criminal situation such as Enron and its ilk. It's true some of us are willing to pay a slight premium, at least in the beginning, to encourage the startup of a renewable industry where none exists at present, but how is that different from contributing to any other worthy cause? Surely even free maketeers have some things they are willing to support even if they are not totally "competitive". If it develops that when oil prices go up GM raises its prices too and engages in an obvious rip-off then that will soon become apparent to everyone and if the free market works as some think it should, their windfall profits will soon be undercut by more reputable providers. But they are the only game in town at present, and market analysts who keep track of such things will be looking to see if the public supports the concept. If not it will be like seat belts - take years to be accepted (and may never be accepted on a straight market basis) because no one was willing to buy them and most thought they were a nuisance.


      I think it would be interesting if a renewable energy cooperative formed that would

      offer service to retail customers at pricing perhaps like GM, but with the profit being in the form of accumulated shares.  In other words, instead of Charlie’s excess profit contribution going to shareholders somewhere, it goes into an ownership share for him.  If the base price (after subtracting this capitalization charge) were competitive with the other REP’s, then I should think more customers would jump at renewables.  I would support and applaud any company that offered me competitive pricing, and at the same time had the goal of expanding renewables as rapidly as possible.  I’d be willing to help capitalize such a business through higher prices provided I became a partial owner.


      Of course it would be great if every industry would set up some kind of cooperative so that its profits were plowed back to its customers
      but I don't think that is the way most free markets work so why should this one? Who would provide the initial startup and operating capital? Sounds like we are looking for some soft-headed philanthropists here. I suspect GM is strictly in it for a profit, not because they are such good guys. But that is true of most businesses.

      Just my 1 cent change from Robert's 2 cents worth.
      Charlie



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