In spite of a tremendously effective lobbying campaign, the tide is turning against old-school traditional energy monopolies. As a business person, I see no advantage to believing the “traditional” energy industry is advocating on behalf of my best interest. I’m looking for a new “Alternative-Energy Marshall Plan” to lower long-term costs and provide more flexible consumer/business options.
Let me be clear, I am a business person and I love capitalism. I believe in profit and want everyone to have a fair, level playing field. The oil and gas industry creates jobs and helps our economy by paying taxes and offering a product we all use. I also demand that my business gets the absolute best deal possible for my dollar. I will fight like hell to make sure I am not getting played like a sucker.
For a refresher course on what is good for my small business and the general public let me restate all of our best interest:
A. The lowest prices for energy available.
B. More efficient energy production and distribution.
C. Lowest prices for energy available.
D. Transportation options -inland magnetic levitation trains that move cargo and vehicles, ocean ferry’s along coastlines, drive-by-wire wireless vehicles, buses that run on rail and adapt to also drive on roads, and other bleeding-edge solutions.
E. Stable prices from month2month or year2year so we can plan/budget our operations.
F. Did I already say lowest prices for energy available?
G. Cleaner burning energy solutions that improve the health of our workers and our customers.
H. Cost-effective “On-site” energy creation/generation in homes and businesses.
I. Multiple energy options and choices for vehicles, manufacturing, transportation office buildings, and homes.
J. Lower prices.
K. No government subsidies for an industry we are forced to use that already costs all of us too much.
As a business-person and an uncompromising capitalist, I say if an industry is failing to meet my needs and is consistently working against my self-interest, that industry needs to have more competition.
Unfortunately, as a nation we have allowed ourselves to be held hostage to an antiquated energy infrastructure that dooms our best and brightest businesses to the prison of “the way it has always been” when it comes to access. The current model is an energy monopoly that does more to hurt business growth, expansion and profitability than it does to help.
I am not saying there is a lack of competition in some energy. As we all can see, there are multiple gas stations and numerous utilities but as a business or consumer, you are still limited.
Here is what I mean:
a). If you drive a vehicle, 95% of us are stuck with only a gasoline option.
b). Although Americans can purchase energy from different energy sources (wind, solar), you’re still stuck with only one manner of distribution to get it into your home or building – usually from a single provider per geographic area.
c). The cost of entry into the energy market or distribution system is either financially infeasible or nearly impossible from a regulatory sense.
d). The barriers to competition are purposeful and designed to protect one group over the consuming public.
e). Prices are controlled and always benefit the monopoly to the detriment of the consumer.
f). It is extremely difficult to opt-out without losing benefits.
g). Yes, you can purchase a electric car or a natural gas truck but just try to “filler’- up”.
If I am not mistaken, I have described a monopoly. It is the actual oil and gas energy industry that functions as a monopoly and the industry effectively stifles competition from alternative competitive solutions. By using their political muscle and their support of regulation which limits the success of new energy options, the current old-school energy monopoly helps drive up the cost of energy for all of us. This hurts all businesses in America and is something every business person should be fighting against.
Lest we forget, the US Government is the largest purchaser of all energy in the world. Therefore anything that costs the government more, costs all Americans more. Tat being said, et’s make sure we-the-people are fighting for our best interests and do a better job getting a better energy deal for ourselves.
I do have a solution that will support capitalism and represents our best interests:
A “Marshall Plan” to create multiple energy options and achieve more competition for the American energy dollar. The old-school energy solutions will lose their subsidies and market-stifling advantages. We will instead support up-and-coming solutions that inspire greater competition, consumer choices, and lower overall cost.
Is this picking winners and losers? Yes. We have been supporting one industry monopoly for decades. How has it become so stunning that we need to support the next up-and -coming group of competition? This is exactly what America does; we support new solutions. Sometimes we win … sometimes we lose. What we don’t do is continue on a path that has a history of increasing consumer costs and decreasing competition.
In spite of what the undertakers say, ( defined as those waiting to bury any idea that threatens their current business model), our current investments in alternate energy solutions has not been in vain. We are already seeing the benefits of our national investments as we see the private-sector matching public investments every day. Instead of listening to the people that are whining and crying about alternative energy solutions, let’s listen to all of the business people and consumers who are trying to look out for their own best interests.
Don’t buy the lie that investing in alternative energy solutions is a waste of public or private money. Only a business dinosaur with something to lose is making that argument. Instead, focus on your best interests and demand a new “Alternative Energy Solutions Marshall Plan”. I promise you it may take time and money but you will see long-term energy costs go down as a result.
By the way, I can already hear the undertakers claiming investments in alternate industry have been tried and have failed. Well, guess what, they are “full-of-stuff” and just fighting for their own survival. What else do you expect an undertaker would say?
Here is what our past investments in alternative energy have done for the US Military:
In 2012, the US Military is the largest user of:
2. Electric vehicles
3. Natural gas transportation
4. Nuclear power-plants
6. Solar power
8. Energy saving systems
9. Research designed to uncover the “next-thing” in alternate energy production and distribution.
These impressive results have been accomplished in spite of massive organized opposition; however thankfully, the Pentagon considers energy flexibility an issue of “National Security”. Besides, these folks are armed so they tend to get their way.
Just imagine how much we can achieve with a real “Alternative Energy Marshall Plan”!?
Do you think that doing nothing is going to result in lower prices or more efficient energy from the current monopoly?
Smart people make changes and adapt when they discover the status-quo is not working. As a country of aggressive capitalists and individual consumers, let’s start acting smarter and looking out for our best-interests.
The high prices you see and the ever-present roller-coaster at the electrical outlet and at the pump is the reaction of an out-of-touch industry. Consumers have been subject to the last gasp of a challenged industry whose response to the threat of competition is punishing the consumer right in thier wallets. As stated before, it did not recently get more expensive to drill for oil, refine it to gas and diesel, and distribute it to the consumer. It just got sold for more to the consumer. Why? Because there is not enough competition for those consumer dollars.
Let me give you an idea of how a monopoly thinks when it come to how it deals with competition:
1. They never accecpt the fact that their declining market share is due to a failure of their product to meet a consumers needs.
2. They tend to buy out the competetion and shelve the competing technology.
3. They need to turn to government intervention to erect new barriers to entry for the competition.
4. They tend to advertise wildly and promise things that they will never do.
5. They tend to consolidate political power with their excess revenue
6. They rarely introduce disruptive technology on their own industry that is bleeding-edge enough to replace even their own products ( something their competetion seeks to do everyday and consumers need in order to be exposed to more competetive options).
7. They seek to limit choice.
8. They control prices.
9. They punish descent.
10. And finally, once it is clear they will lose market share forever and lose their dynasty, they create “golden parachutes” that insulate them from any revenue loses related to the introduction of any new competition. These concepts basically guarantee they retain the historical revenue or profit levels they enjoyed as monopolies for years after they lose their monopoly status. This is very interesting because the normal parachute will increase the cost of a new competitors product or will give them an even more secure monopoly under the guise of sharing market share.
Let me give you just one very visible example.
When the energy market (electricity/natural gas) was deregulated in California, they utilities which had previously held the monopoly were actually given the ability to charge future ratepayers two new fees:
1. A competetion transition fee for loss of future profits.
2. A stranded assets fee for investments in past infrastructure.
10 years later, those fees are still on the utility bills of many all Californians.
This is how monopolies act; they never assume or accept their own demise even when their products are no longer required. They have NO BUSINESS MODEL THAT ACCEPTS THEY MAY EVER LOSE SALES REVENUE. In their monopoly world, if sales fall, they just INCREASE the price to the consumer/business customer. Crazy logic indeed.
Yet consumers are trying to fight back.
A. September was best month of sales for the Prius and Chevy Volt ever.
B. The country is adopting even more creative solutions for solar such as covering canals and aqueducts with moveable solar panels because pumping water uses the most energy.
C. The military is now the largest user of alternative energy.
D. America is attracting international manufacturers and researchers to our shores because the world knows we are the largest market for energy and we are starving for options.
E. American researchers, developers, and manufacturers of alternative energy solutions are popping up and beginning to apply American ingenuity to our future energy challenges.
F. The City of San Diego is now the largest City user/producer of alternate energy for residential.
These achievements have happened in spite of the undertakers, climate-cange-deniers, and well funded industry monopolies. Imagine where we would be with a 2013 Alternative Energy Marshall Plan?”
Yet the undertakers are fighting back as well.
How else do you explain all of the oil and gas company commercials this cycle? These ads are not talking about how their product makes your computer work better or how their product improves your fuel economy. They are not telling you how their new product is now better for your air or water. They definitely never tell you what they have done or are doing to lower the price of their product to you the consumer.
Contrast this message to every other ad for every other product. Everyone else is trying to get you to buy more of their product because it improves your life, health, business, education, and even your sex life. They offer lower prices than their competition to attract you as a customer. They offer coupons and discounts in the newspaper, in magazines and on the Internet. They broadly boast of all the good things that will happen for you if you are their customer. This is how real customers are treated when a business s competing for their dollar/patronage.
Monopolies just don’t tend to care about what is better for you because their model is to consolidate their gains and do what is best for them. This is a basic form of commerce and under most circumstance the consumer can vote with their feet if they want a better deal. However,when an entire industry is the monopoly, commerce simply does not work and the consumer gets screwed. We-the-people must change this reality when it comes to energy.
Our country was founded on the premise of free and fair competetion and we have always fought against a monopoly-centric brand of commerce. In our country we encourage competition in all-things consumer focused and we have a history of resisting the temptation to limit consumer options.
When you hear a person stating we should maintain energy subsidies to a monopoly-level industry like the oil and gas industry but should stop any type of subsidy or public funding of new energy technologies, you know you are hearing a mouthpiece for a monopoly that is afraid of the competition. Don’t listen to someone that is not looking out for your best interest.
Also, don’t let the “regulation straw man” sway you or be used as a justification for higher prices. Every business has regulation and we all know how to navigate the process.
BP has an ad stating the are spending more in the US than any other oil company. They boast like it was their idea to invest so heavily in the Gulf on driving tourism. They don’t tell you that $23 billion of that spending is because they killed 11 Americans on their oil rig and polluted the Gulf of Mexico. They wiped put an economy and cost the southwest billions in economic activity. They got smacked by the American government and were FORCED to fix the damage they created as a result of their complete negligence. This is why they are spending more in the US than any other oil and gas company!
Do you want to know why drilling permits are down and regulation increased on federal property? BP killed 11Americans by drilling a mile down without a way to avoid a massive oil failure. Cause and effect. Frankly until they can prove another incident will be avoided, I would not issue a new drilling permit either … and neither would you.
A better BP ad would be to tell America how their new drilling technology is so much more efficient and safer for humans and the environment.
Germany is one of the 5 most successful industrial economies in the world. Their manufacturing sector is strong and their exports are large. They also made a decision over 15 years ago to restructure their independent energy infrastructure. One one day last month, Germany produced 1/3 of their total energy consumption from solar. China is no economic slouch either. Although they are investing in coal plants but they are also investing in alternate energy solutions at a higher level than any other country in the world. France is the leader in nuclear energy and has developed a way to recycle their energy waste. These countries get it and they are building an energy future that satisfies their national best interests – not the narrow interest of the oil and gas industry.
Regardless of the alternative energy option you choose, what is clear is this fact: Having more energy options is good for American businesses and American consumers.
Americans deserve the best energy access available at the best price possible. Today I am asking for America to pursue an Alternative-Energy Marshall Plan. What are we waiting for?
Oh, I forgot to add one last comment. A new “Alternative-Energy Marshall Plan” will create TONS of jobs and drive economic growth to levels not seen since the space program inspired a generation of US engineers.