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Should It Be Illegal For Power Companies To Cut Power In The Winter?

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posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 04:37 PM

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
shouldn't it be illegal for utilities to be run as private corporate enterprises instead of the government?

And there you have the answer.

Utilities are private companies and therefore they have every right to shut off power as they deem necessary. If people don't pay - either because they can't or because they won't - the power companies should have the right to turn off the power. They are private corporations.

Madnessinmysoul has an EXCELLENT point. If the infrastructure was run by the government .... then the power wouldn't be turned off to those in REAL need.

But of course giving the government more power .... that adds other problems ...

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 04:42 PM
Yeah, power should be cut in the winter if nonpayment is an issue. If there are children or the elderly, they should be taken into state custody.

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 10:01 PM

Originally posted by uberarcanist
Yeah, power should be cut in the winter if nonpayment is an issue. If there are children or the elderly, they should be taken into state custody.

That's a pretty callous response.

I agree that power companies and other utilities are private, but they do provide vital services, the interruption of which might be life threatening.

In most states, utilities are monitored and controlled to one degree or another by a state commission or agency.

In New Orleans, the electric utility had a program whereby customers could donate a percentage of their bills to a fund for the needy.

I personally have had my electricity cut off several times, twice while I was a graduate student. It ain't pleasant, but I never asked for assistance. I just stuck it out the best I could, studying by flashlight in a pool of sweat.

There should be measures to protect the public when times are hard and conditions are difficult, even if it is at taxpayers' expense.


[edit on 2007/4/2 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Apr, 3 2007 @ 02:13 AM
There is a delicate balance to be struck between the conflicting rights of two parties. Yes, people have the right to be secure in the necessities of life, but people are not entitled to other people's goods and services.

This concept is probably best developed in property law. Your landlord can't deprive you of a roof over your head on a moment's notice, but he is not obligated to keep letting you deprive him of the ability to make money on his property when it becomes clear you aren't going to pay.

If you lose your house, there are safety nets out there- there are shelters, etc, but you will have to find a way back onto your feet, or you probably will lose custody of your kids, and you do run an increased risk of dying if you fail to provide for yourself.

The way I see it, the same thing needs to apply to utilities: first, you get plenty of warning. It should take AT LEAST two months with absolutely NO payment or a total of 4 months behind to disconnect- if you hit a rough spot and you can only make half of your payments, the fact that you are demonstrating that they will get there money has to be worth something. Four months in and of itself should offer a lot of protection from cold or heat in many places.

There also needs to be a safety net- in this case, it doesn't really make sense to relocate someone. It would cost more to move somebody and shelter them than it would to just pay their utility bills (afterall, this problem assumes that they are somehow paying their rent) so the safety net has to involve allowing for a certain amount of service to those who can't pay. I believe that meters should be designed with a special disconnect setting that allows a very slow rate of usage to continue- enough to accomodate the running of a few small appliances- say 1 lamp, and 1 fan or space-heater- enough to keep one room habitable. We don't have to let people have central air, fridges and microwaves on the company's or the governments dime, but there's no reason not to give them enough power to keep their children from freezing to death and let the companies write it off of their taxes... the fridge etc are infact luxuries- I've eaten without refrigeration or cooking plenty of times- it was a twice-daily event when I was little: fruit, granola bars, tuna sandwhiches, etc... and frankly I would have been thrilled to death if my mom hadn't cooked dinner because fanning smoke away from the smoke detector really interfered with my homework.

And for those of you who are technically inclined, yes I realize that it would require a design change to allow for such a setting and that it would have to be phased in over time. It's not a quick fix, I know.

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