Sunday, March 7, 2010

Capitalism and utilities

The Oklahoman ran a letter on February 27th by Thomas S. Price, Jr, senior vice president of corporate development and government affairs for Chesapeake Energy, extolling the virtues of a bill by Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge which would - among other things - "encourage" public utilities to "pursue the construction and expansion of natural gas-fired facilities".

Chesapeake, based here in Oklahoma City, is one of the country's major producers of natural gas.

I wrote a response to Mr. Price's letter which was published in this morning's The Oklahoman:
End the monopoly

In response to Thomas S. Price Jr. (Your Views, Feb. 27): House Speaker Chris Benge’s bill creating a separate energy standard for natural gas is an obvious and egregious example of corporate welfare. Rather than directing public utilities to pursue more gas-fired plants, why not end the government’s monopoly of utility market regulation? Yes, this would require closing the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, among other things; that’s how a free and open market works. Companies such as Chesapeake, where Price works, could then enter the market and prove their worthiness by providing customers with the best product and service at the best price — in competition with other companies, of course. Companies would then be free to earn every dollar of their profits cleanly and honestly, and to take genuine pride in doing so.

Rob Abiera, Oklahoma City
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