Passin’ the Buck

I wonder if California’s politicians will ever stop externalizing all of the responsibility for their failed electricity restructuring. Now they are moving beyond placing all of blame on Enron and other “greedy, out-of-state, price gouging” power suppliers to Perot Systems, the company that wrote the software to implement California’s failed “market” design and made marketing presentations to energy companies about trading strategies for California. Only looking at the facts can determine whether Perot Systems had a conflict of interest in this situation; it’s not even clear yet whether the presentation was to an energy company or to the Power Exchange to alert them to possible holes in the system. Since they didn’t develop the rules, but only wrote the software to implement them, I’m not sure there is a conflict. I have one question, though: what makes these politicians think that energy companies did not already realize what the flaws were in the rules and structure of the “market”? Governor Davis and some of California’s other political leaders stick solidly with their victim rhetoric, with no acknowledgement that the “market” structure and rules created the opportunities for manipulation that they are decrying. This continuing externalizition of responsibility helped deepen the electricity crisis in late 2000 and early 2001, and does little to further progress toward energy choice for California’s residents.