Left Justified: Will we freeze in the dark?
By Stanley Campbell
Will we freeze in the dark?
By Stan Campbell
Have you received your notice in the mail from Northern Illinois Gas Company? They are diversifying.
They are offering us the opportunity to choose our source of natural gas so that we will not freeze in the winter. Isnt that wonderful? Dont you feel privileged to live in a free-market society where you can choose to live or die depending upon the luck of the draw?
Those of us who have lots of time to do the research will probably be able to pick a gas company that doesnt charge an arm and a leg. Well get one that may not go belly-up, a provider thats a secure source to keep our furnace pumping out heat in the next blizzard. Of course, those of us who have no time to do any research will pick and choose, most likely, incorrectly. With my luck, Ill probably pick the most expensive company that will stop delivery in the midst of the worst cold spell in our memory.
All of this is brought to you by our free-market enterprise that says that we should not have the government regulating industry. God forbid that the utilities should be forced to fulfill their contract in keeping us citizens warm.
Of course, we will soon enjoy getting telephone calls during dinnertime from computer-generated solicitors trying to get us to change our utility provider. No, please give me the good old days when utilities were regulated monopolies, there to provide a decent service at a fair price. Call me a communist, but I think that lives should not hang on the luck of the draw when it comes to basic services.
But its too late. Our free market proponents in the state house didnt learn anything from California. They think utility executives will be forced to give us lower prices and work hard for their profits. Theyd never collude. Theyd never cheat. These are fine, upstanding Americans and would never (hardly ever) take advantage of us consumers.
I think we got took. And will be taken, down a long, wintry road, and forced to stand out in the cold and dark until we fork over our life savings.
Thats what brought about regulation in the first place. Lest we forget!
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Minsitries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.