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So we’re up to day 2 of no power due to the outage from the snow storm that made it’s way through the DC region on Wednesday night. The temperature in the house is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the street behind my house has power, the main road at the end of the street has power and the end of the block has power. PEPCO, the power company who likes to claim – “We’re connected to you by more than just power lines” – now says that they may have power restored by Sunday night at 11PM. To add salt to the wound it turns out that PEPCO waited until well into the storm before asking for help from neighboring utilities.

I’m sure I’ll get e-mail from people saying “well…go out and buy a generator” (that would probably be the Republican answer) and others will say “PEPCO should be fined for their lack of reliability” (BTW – they rank near the bottom nationwide in terms of electric reliability) (that would probably be the Democrat answer). In the end I will probably go out and buy a whole house generator as insurance that the next time this happens (and I’m sure that it will since PEPCO doesn’t seem intent on doing jack-shit about their infrastructure) I will at least be able to stay in the house comfortably and get things done. But that’s the rub – why should I have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to make sure I can have reliable power? Wasn’t that what deregulation and all that bullshit was supposed to provide? Wasn’t deregulation supposed to be a win-win for the consumer? Yes I get my power from an alternative provider – but the problem is that the distribution network is all PEPCO. There’s no way for another provider to come in and say “hey, I can provide you power distribution more reliably than PEPCO.” So in the end the consumer is screwed and has to spend his own money to do the very thing the utility is supposed to do!

I also noticed this morning that I’ve got two branches from a white oak tree on my property that broke due to the weight of the wet snow. So now I’ve got to get someone to come in and cut them back. What would probably cost me $100 in Texas will probably end up costing me $500 here in Maryland. Why? Well, because in Maryland, everything costs more. It costs more to live here, it costs more to eat here, it costs more to drive around here…it just costs more. I’m sick and tired of being asked to pay more and more for less and less. I’m no certainly no Republican or Tea-Party wannabe but I’m at the point when I think enough is enough. I realize that taxes have their place…and I don’t mind paying my fair share. What I DO mind is paying my fair share only to find that others find ways around paying THEIR fair share by sleight of hand and financial trickery and enriching themselves. Then they go around and bitch and moan about how taxes are STILL too high.

It seems that everything I buy at the store is made in China these days. Why? Because it’s cheaper for the company to make it in China…the company’s profits are higher, the CEO’s bonus is bigger and yet the products are worse. It’s all about competitiveness…uh huh…and if you believe that then I’ve got some land in Libya that you may be interested in. It’s all about profit…and making great numbers every quarter to make sure the analysts on Wall Street (who should all be thrown in the ocean anyway…What do you get when you’ve got 1000 Wall Street analysts at the bottom of the ocean? – A good start!) are happy so that the stock prices go up. That’s the truth. And if they can get you to pay MORE for the product that costs them LESS to manufacture and ship over here…well so much the better. That’s what a Capitalist market is supposed to do, I get that. But it’s getting to the point that I feel like I’m paying more for less and that less is breaking more often or not lasting nearly long enough to make it worth the “more” I’m paying for it.

So, I’m expecting PEPCO to ask for more money in a little while in order to cover their expected infrastructure upgrades to make their system more reliable. And, somehow, I figure the Maryland PUC will acquiesce and allow PEPCO to charge more. And in the end that money will go to higher salaries and bigger bonuses for executives and senior managers at PEPCO with no real change in the reliability of their infrastructure. And when the next storm rolls through here, I won’t be surprised that the power goes out again for days on end…hopefully then I’ll be sitting in a house that is powered by my own generator.

January 2011

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