Almost there...

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

So the utility companies got their rate hike. I'm really glad I'm living in Santa Clara where there's a municiple utility district. One thing that was interesting about the news yesterday was that each paper had a different percentage of rate increase. The San Jose Mercury suggested 36%. The SF Chronicle picked 40%. The Palo Alto Daily News said 46%. I'm trying to figure out if everyone is just really bad at math, or if it really did vary from city to city. My guess is the former.

I heard a really interesting commentary on NPR about the whole thing yesterday. It suggested that we may manage to turn ourselves into a third world economy by messing the deregulation up so badly. I don't think it's as bad as all that, but it is sure going to shoot big holes in our economy. Let's see, big companies will be paying a lot more for power, but they're still going to suffer periodic rolling blackouts. They could move elsewhere and pay a lot less for space and have reliable power. Heck, most of their employees can't afford to buy a place to live here anyway. And they're still having problems recruiting new employees. And that's not a real problem because they really need to lay off 20% of their workforce anyway. If we moved to Ohio, then we'd lose at least 20% no matter what. I don't know what's going to happen with all of this, but I'm sure there are a lot of big companies looking at the effect a 35-50% electricity rate hike will have on their bottom line. I guess the good news is that maybe the housing market will become more reasonable. It'd be really nice to be able to by more than a one bedroom apartment for $300k.

I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm definitely nervous. I really hope that we manage to hold it together.


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