Public utilities and a problematic issue on the allowance of profits. We all know that if you are only allowed to make 15 percent profit as in the case of Utilities Companies then why not spend more money so you can make 15 percent go up. For instance if you make $100 which are only allowed to keep 15, that you make two hundred dollars, then you get to keep 30. A utility is a quasi government agency in that it has no competition; it is regulated by government. It is a forced monopoly, so monopolies are fine as long as the government says so, yet very inefficient and to that end when you take an inefficient business model whether it is steel or energy and throw it into a deregulated ring where strong survive, you learn real quick just how inefficient and out of shape it is. Companies, which become or are labeled monopolies by government, yet got there through fierce competition are much different than companies, which are monopolies which were in fact created by the government.
Microsoft through consumer voting by their dollars, became best of the breed and the ultimate in efficiency. Customers perceived their products and services superior. Microsoft coupled this with brilliant strategic planning and that does it. They owned the market because we voted for them, then all of a sudden it was then illegal. If you look at any government agency you will see that each year they spend more money right up into the maximum of their budget. If they spend a little more than their budget, then next year they can have a little more money. This is the exact opposite of General Electric, GM, 3M, IBM or even Mars M and M's which live or die on their abilities. General Electric each year tries to bring down cost. Governments on the other hand try to spend more money every year trying to get bigger. Government's number one job is to protect her people, but it appears governments number one job over the last century is to get bigger with more bureaucracy. If you have a utility company that operates that way, then there is significant waste, yet it is encouraged by government, because it is modeled after a government agency, a system without competition; a flawed system.
Any business, which goes from a monopolistic-quasi-government-style to a free enterprise operating company overnight, is sure to wreak havoc. Both for its customer-citizen base and the company-agency itself as we saw as the CA energy giant went into BK. What is interesting is that we now look back in hindsight and say, "well maybe deregulation is not good for utilities?" That is nuts, of course it is good.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs