Of the People, By the People, for the Corporations?

Our country thrives on competition. The free market, driven by profit motives, ensures continued improvements in goods and services so that they will be more efficiently produced (therefore cheaper) and more responsive to customer needs (therefore more desirable).

I strongly oppose most intervention by government into the free market. Especially when government takes over businesses, such as what is being done in Venezuela by Hugo Chavez. The failed economies of Eastern Europe after WWII show that governments do not run businesses well.

Which brings me to the tangled web of the Coal Plant in Great Falls. When I first was looking at the coal plant, I thought it was part of a co-op, in the traditional sense. That is, a group of similarly situated people/entities trying to pool resources for a better deal. Like farmers who form a co-op to buy supplies in bulk. Creating economies of scale for the little guy. I also thought that the Coal Plant was the project, not just an expansion of the current situation.

Nay, nay. I was wrong. The local community members, in general, will not be customers. The feasibility study (see p. 18), instead, shows that this ECPI that we have is really just a power broker for the likes of Benefis. The city is now risking our public resources to expand this deal with a $720 million coal burning plant. But for whom? Not the citizens. Apparently, it is so that Benefis, Meadowgold, the Montana Refinery, etc., can make more profits by having cheaper power? Why them, and not their competitors?

So, (1) we have government involved in business. Bad. And, (2) we find the motive for that involvement is to benefit only select businesses in town. Also bad. Personally, I do not want my assets on the line to help those companies. They can form their own co-op, without tax dollars, if this is such a good deal.


Anonymous said...

But don't you understand? this is good for the economy, and growth, and making our community a better place! Can't you see the benefits?

And if this plant does drive up the default supply cost, you will get to pay more for your power so FedEx and farmers in Hysham can pay less. WhooHoo, theres a benefit!

GeeGuy said...

I seriously doubt that any commercial entity that wants to purchase its power from ECPI will be turned down, especially with an anticipated supply surplus of 40+ MW.

free thought said...


You are probably right about them having excess power to sell, to anyone who will buy it. But what price will other customers pay? Will everyone be able to buy at cost? If not, and there is a profit, who gets it?

If the reasoning of the City is sound, and this deal makes sense, why not have the city buy us our own refinery to get cheap gasoline? Or buy a flour mill for cheap bread? Or . . .