Is their purpose to protect the consumer—or their bottom line?
I was interested in the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating for our monopolistic, highest per kilowatt rate in the country electric company who silently tyrannizes people, Puget Sound Energy (PSE). Their rating was A-plus.
What the ???
The BBB states that this rating is based upon the number of complaints as compared to the size of the business and length of time in business.
OK. BBB states that PSE’s file looks like this:
BBB file opened: 01/01/1956
Business started: 01/01/1873
Business started locally: 01/01/1997
Here’s what it really is: In 2009 Puget Sound Energy was sold to foreign investors, Macquarie Group, in a leveraged private equity buyout. Puget Holdings, the US title of this group of longterm infrastructure investors, merged with Puget Energy, PSE’s parent company to form the current business structure. BBB also states…”BBB has sufficient background information on this business.”
So I begin to wonder, “Who are these BBB people? Do they not know of the massive number of lawsuits which have been lodged against PSE’s coal steam plant “Colstrip” in Montana? Do they not concern themselves that PSE is a monopoly and that “filing a complaint” is worthless? Are they also not aware that their metering system is so tyrannically dysfunctional that they still have yet to fix this massive issue since being warned by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (another unreined entity, do your homework!) in 2008? Ironically, that’s right about the time the business changed hands, what a coincidence. But then, the BBB knows of this change of ownership, they said so themselves.
Anyway, back to the BBB.
It turns out that the BBB is trademarked by the CBBP, Council of Better Business Partners. Now who are they? Their board consists of members of very large corporations. The National Partner Directors Board includes; Verizon, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, Coca-Cola, Hershey. Their outside directors are Citibank, Zocal, and Google.
Let’s stop here. I thought the general idea was supposed to be that the “consumer” was protected by ethical people with integrity. Since when have major corporations led the way with their ethics when profit is always a driving motive? I didn’t notice that Ralph Nader was on the board!
And I began to think again about PSE. A-plus? Whom, from PSE, could possibly be on that board?
So I begin a little background search on PSE. Turns out that PSE is currently owned by a conglomerate of corporations based in Australia called Macquarie Group. Macquarie is an investment bank, holding company without any real shareholders but who still tacks 10% off the top in profit, no matter what the condition of the company is in. Macquarie acquired PSE in 2008/09. That’s when things really started to go awry. But that story later…
Let’s get back to the BBB and its affiliation with PSE or rather, Macquarie. Ever heard of ALEC?
ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a corporation funded by other corporations to write “model” bills for elected officials and lobbyists who have been “married” to corporations. They have brought you such delicious bills as the Voter ID Act and Stand Your Ground, both considered very inhumane by human standards. Members pay for a seat on ALEC’s task force. Members include; Coca Cola, Macquarie Group, Verizon, Visa…must I go on? Are you getting the picture yet? This isn’t Consumer Reports, it isn’t 60 Minutes, it’s not even fair, accurate, or transparent.
The BBB is made up of corporations protecting one another. Therefore, it seems, they are able to keep track of smaller baby corporations and small business, branding them if they choose (by not branding them) while simultaneously keeping their mischief and those who are members of the “clubs” protected. Now can you see why PSE is rated A-plus?
Skip the BBB and the WUTC if you have a complaint. You’d do better to run a seance and return Nikola Tesla to the real humans on this planet. We need him…yesterday! Now, if someone does conjure him up, the trick is not to let him assume he will make a profit off his inventions. This is what got him into hot water last time. He must be quiet. You must be quiet too! Don’t try to make a buck, don’t even go to the monied interests, they have become so very greedy that knocking you off for your toy won’t stop them!
Diane Frank, an independent publisher, grew up in a political household where her grandparents discussed their work as union organizers with IBEW and UAW starting in the 1930’s. She learned to question the motivations of leaders by following the money and power.