Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Greedy capitalist corporation really nonprofit state entity.

All the msm in the United States (including Fox News) are treating the “Long Island Power and Light Company” as a greedy capitalist corporation which is letting people sit in the cold and dark while it counts its profits.

There is a problem with this picture. The “Long Island Power and Light Comany” DOES NOT EXIST (it has not done for years).

The thing in charge is “LIPA” the Long Island Power AUTHORITY – a non profit, government owned entity.

If America was going socialist by the considered choice of the people that would be one thing. But the people do not even know – they think they are been persecuted by evil capitalist corporations, because the media (including even Fox News now) implies that this is the case.

And Britain?

No better  – here the 100% government owned Network Rail is called “private” and there is endless discussion of the massive “cut” in government spending that has not happened.


  1. NickM says:

    Well, obviously a for profit business has an incentive to reconnect customers. They can’t bill for electricity you can’t use!

  2. john b says:

    Well, except that the whole lot is operated under a service contract by National Grid plc, with LIPA not actually managing any transmission/distribution assets or operations or employing any transmission/distribution staff.

  3. Simon Jester says:

    National Grid plc? In the USA?

  4. Paul Marks says:

    Methinks John is being a silly billy.

  5. John Galt says:

    National Grid, based in London, operates and maintains LIPA’s power grid under a contract that expires at the end of next year. The authority last year approved a new contract under which Newark, New Jersey-based Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG) will take over operation of its Long Island grid on Jan. 1, 2014.

  6. john b says:

    Indeed, thanks JG. I like the implication above that the concept of a British company doing business in the US is inherently ridiculous.

  7. Paul Marks says:

    john b.

    You remind me of those people (for example the leftists on the Economist magazine site) who pretend that the failure of the state owned London Underground is due to private contractors.

    LIPA is a government owned organisation.

    And even when the “Long Island Power and Light Company” did exist – it was regulated to death.

    I am sick and tired of statists, such as yourself, pretending to be libertarians.

  8. john b says:

    I’m not hugely fond of people who pretend to be libertarians, but pretend that unaccountable corporations who operate in a completely non-market environment because they’ve bribed politicians to twist laws and regulations in their favour are just fine and dandy (your defence of PFI companies and copyright cartels being the most obvious).

    (as it happens, I’m also hugely not fond of people of any political hue who screw up facts to support their ideological bias, attack people who point out they’re wrong, and then completely ignore the evidence to pretend they were right in the first place.)

    Eh well. The whole point about not being conservatives or socialists is that we don’t want to lock people up or silence them just because their views annoy us, innit?

  9. John Galt says:

    The whole point about not being conservatives or socialists is that we don’t want to lock people up or silence them just because their views annoy us, innit?

    Agreed – but maybe Paul is prepared to make an exception in your case… :-)

    For myself, Paul is right about LIPA if government interference / regulation is too great then it doesn’t matter whose name is one the door, it’s still being fucked up / over by the bureaucrats, unions and politico’s.

    Authur Scargill knew it quite well, if you want to bring down a government that won’t give in to your demands, just turn the power off for a few days in winter. It wouldn’t surprise me if LIPA’s sluggardliness isn’t union inspired.

  10. Paul Marks says:

    John B.

    So the problem is the government LIPA hired private contrators.

    And Sky is a “monopoly established by law” (because some football clubs sold the rights to show their matches to it) no different from the BBC.

    I have never written on copyright, or on IP generally. I have no strong opinion on the matter.

    But I do indeed have a strong opinion about you.

    You Sir are no libertarian.

    You love the BBC.

    And you think that private contractors, not state ownership, is the problem.

    “Silence you”. That is an extreme statement Sir – and not called for.

    I have never in my life killed a man for something he said – and I am not going to start with you.

    I reserve the right to delete any comment you make – but that is just defending private property.

    I am not a “corporation” so even you can have no problem with that.

    Other than that I have more important things in my mind than you.

    So, I give you my word, that you are in no danger from me.

  11. john b says:

    PM: my last sentence wasn’t meant as a suggestion you’d do anything other than I would – it was fully intended at face value. Sorry it wasn’t clear.

    I love the shows the BBC makes and I’m glad it exists for that reason, in the same way I’m glad HBO exists. I think the way in which it’s funded is increasingly indefensible.

    I think that the use of private contractors under state monopoly contracts or heavy state regulation is philosophically no different from direct state provision, and that while there are theoretical efficiency benefits to private contracts, these can easily be and often are subverted by companies’ lobbying power

    (I also don’t believe that the provision of multiple competing last-mile electricity transmission networks is possible, so the only possible solution is either an unregulated private monopoly or something which is philosophically equivalent to state provision. If that makes me a statist, I’ll line up alongside Milton Friedman in the statist queue).

  12. Paul Marks says:

    John B.

    I apologise for misunderstanding you.

    I tend to assume when someone uses words such as “silence me” they mean “kill me” – I did not undertand that is not how you were using the words.

    I again apologise for misunderstanding you.

    Milton Friedman?

    I do not rate him – but that is because of his support for the Negative Income Tax and his support for the (terrible) Irving Fisher on monetary theory, not because of what he wrote on electricity supplies.

    I must confess I did not know that Milton Friedman wrote on the electricity market.

    If Milton Friedman did believe that price controls (and other such) were a good thing in the electricty market – then he was wrong.

    Electricity should compete with gas – and both with home generated power. No ARTIFICIAL government created “market”.

    Even Milton Friedman’s old friend Stigler (also Chicago) understood that government regulation of utlities produced a total mess.

    The idea that government regulation, in the long term, “helps the consumer” is just wrong.

    Of course as an opponent of the Federal government “rural elctrification program” isolated communities (not on Long Island – but out hundreds of miles from cities) would not even be “on the grid” – and nor should they be if no one will do it voluntarily.

    Far off rural communities were not “on the grid” in the 1920s – if people choose to live many hundreds of miles from town and cities, there is no reason why vast expense should be made to put them (and maintain them) “on the grid”. There were other ways of generating electrical power for a few houses in the middle of nowhere (or they could do without).

  13. Mr Ed says:

    A national grid gives a national register of buildings, and bill payers, how useful for those who seek to do ill.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: