Screw you, Enron

I saw a headline saying that California had a record day of electrical usage due to the heat. It brought to mind the rolling blackouts and outrageous energy costs, the recall, and last but not least, the Governator. I recently saw “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and it is a sickening film. The sheer greed and irresponsibility portrayed in that film is jaw-dropping.
So I just thought I’d send a hearty “F. You” to Ken Lay, I hope you’re burning in hell with no air-conditioning. And I came up with a nifty idea for Skilling…incarcerated for life with no electricity whatsoever. And perhaps forced to run in a gerbil-wheel 14 hours a day to generate power for the rest of the inmates. Now THAT would be justice.

(Thought this wouldn’t cut it in the Pit…apologies if I made a boo-boo.)

One of the waves of power crises and rolling brownouts came just in time to make Californians angry for the 2000 presidential election. Ken Lay’s close friend won. Some Silicon Valley companies collapsed, and the state went bankrupt, but the main thing was that an energy-industry guy moved into the White House.

Yeah, this is more the style of the Pit. So, off ya go.

Well, yeah, but California voted for the other guy. So, even if they got angry in time for the 2000 presidential election, they didn’t take it out on the Democrats.

Yep, they’ve started the “Flex your power” commercials again. Do your laundry after 7pm, set your AC to 78°, all that stuff. But no brown-outs so far.

I like your idea for Skilling. A little creative sentencing might just get the point across to some of these assholes.

I don’t think so…

California’s looking mighty red for a blue state…

Not if you break it down by population. LA county alone has more people in it than half the state, area-wise. It doesn’t matter what the rest of us think…LA and SF will drag us their way whether we like it or not.

Um. Which candidate got the Electoral votes? If we based national elections on land area of voters, Conservatives would have such a massive lead there wouldn’t be a market for Liberals. Unlike you, however, many of us understand what a vote is.

BTW, have you noticed how the red parts of CA are in all the good places? That’s no conspiracy or manipulation. Must be the good air that keeps the red parts sane enough to vote that way. :stuck_out_tongue:

And nice reference to the Lay/Bush cabal. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

You’re kidding, right? As far as presidential politics go, this is a true-blue state. All those blue counties are where most of the people live. For a Republican presidential candidate to win here, he’d have to be either a native son, and/or a not-so-soicially conservative Republican (like Arnold). Take at look at this representation if you want to see the effect of population denstiy on the whole red state/blue state meme.

I love that map. Looks like a syphylitic dick pissing on Castro.

That visual is SOOOOOOOOO depressing.

Yup all three registered voters in Del Norte county voted for Bush, as did the five registered voters in Butte county. Meanwhile, the 62 jillion voters in LA, and the bay area all voted Democratic.

You know you can’t believe everything you see in a documentary right? Enron didn’t have nearly as much to do with the crisis as you might want them to. The main problem was California’s refusal to build any new power plants for decades. They thought they would have all the power they would ever need, which was foolishly shortsighted in hindsight. Couple that with low snow pack up north (less hydro power) and hot weather, and you have trouble brewing.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen “Smartest Guys” but I think they dropped the ball on that part of the movie. I don’t remember specifics, but I seem to recall interviews with people from the power authority who gives facts that were highly questionable regarding the strength of California infrastructure. Furthermore, the movie featured a weepy Gray Davis blaming Enron for his impotence. “And I would have been President if it wasn’t for that meddling Ken Lay.” Whatever you say Gray.

Trust me, I am not an Enron defender; there is plenty to blame them for. But the situation in California is the least of it. The state must take most of the blame.

Oh, bullshit. California power companies have been deregulated for years, so it ain’t the state that decides what gets built anymore. Ironically, the one company that chose NOT to deregulate – Dept. of Water & Power, covering most of L.A. County – had plenty of electricity, in fact was selling excess power all during the 2001 crisis; Enron’s machinations had no effect here.

I’ll grant that Pete Wilson’s deregulation plan was a total fiasco, laying the foundation for some lecherous company like Enron to exploit all the loopholes, and Grey Davis was a weenie for…well, for being Grey Davis. And it’s true that California’s rampant NIMBYism continues to be a thorn in the side for any industry that’s perceived as potentially polluting the environment. (I suppose that’s what you get from a culture dominated by pinko vegan celebrities…)

But that doesn’t excuse Enron for jack shit. By your logic, you would suggest a burglar “didn’t have much to do” with a house robbery, because the owner left all the doors and windows open and wrote down the alarm codes & safe combination on a piece of paper taped to the front door. Yeah, the homeowner was beggin’ for trouble, but that doesn’t make the burglar any more humane…far from it.

Gore beat Bush by 1.3 million votes in California in 2000. Kerry won by a similar margin. The Kerry results are one click away in the link you posted. The 2000 results are here.

Not quite. You can’t just go and build a power plant w/o going thru a lengthy approval process, and the deregulation (which was only a partial deregulation) had only taken place in 1996-- the crisis started in 2000.

While Enron played a part in the crisis, it couldn’t have done so without the “help” of the crazy deregulation system in CA-- wholesale prices were deregulated, but retail prices were still regulated. This created the opportunity, when wholesale prices were higher than retail prices, for companies like Enron to engage in energy arbitrage. And since retial prices were fixed, demand was largely unafected by rising wholesale prices. This is basic econ 101, which too many politicians seem to have slept thru.

And yet before Enron, they had no brownouts or rolling blackouts. After Enron, no brownouts or rolling blackouts. It’s been proved in court that Enron’s policies caused brownouts and rolling blackouts as part of the energy manipulation conspiracy and price-gouging.

So no matter how bad California’s refusal to blah blah blah has been, it hasn’t actually caused the brownouts and blackouts, which were all Enron-induced. So other than being entirely wrong, you have a point.


What is “before Enron”? Enron was formed (by a merger) in 1985.

Enron engaged in some illegal practices, but as I explained above, they wouldn’t have been able to do so had the energy market in CA been an actual market instead of a regulated one.

“Before Enron,” then, would be “from the time electricity was first distributed in California until 1985,” then.

During said time, whether the system of electricity distribution was run by some left-wing state bureaucrats or Ronald Reagan or John Carter of Mars or Ewoks, there were no supply-caused (as oppopsed to weather-caused, for example) brownouts/blackouts significant enough to make national news. And none since Enron.


OK, so I’ll grant that Enron is guilty of taking advantage of a fucked up deregulation system with ambiguous rules that was apparently created by a bunch of assbutts that didn’t know what they were doing. (I will not grant that they were guilty of price gouging because price gouging does not exist).

My point is Enron is not to blame for California’s NIMBY policies since the 70’s that resulted in an over reliance in out of state power, specifically Northwest Hydro, which is bound to be too low sooner or later. (And if building a power plant is as easy as KGS thinks, you would see lots of them going in in the state) Nor is Enron to blame for extreme hot weather, high natural gas prices, insufficient peaking capacity and a fucked up deregulation model.

My second point is that if you want to be mad at Enron, your anger would be applied more efficiently to be pissed about them cooking their books. To me, that is a more serious crime by several orders of magnitude than the California situation.