Overcharge — How Electric Utilities Exploit and Mislead the Public, and What You Can Do About It by Lee Metcalf & Vic Reinemer

Published by David McKay Company, 1967, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.

Condition: Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper a little wrinkled at the edges, somewhat marked and soiled at the panels with tanning to the spine. Boards lightly dust-stained. Edges of the text block lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

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Reprint. [First: Same Year] Illustrated / decorative end papers. From the cover: The great blackouts in the Northeast and Southwest have dramatized how necessary electricity is to our modern life. Yet the industry is dominated by a few giant corporations called I.O.U.s (investor-owned utilities), that operate with the insolent grandeur of medieval princes.

It is widely believed that utilities, because of their privileged monopoly position and assured market, are not allowed to earn more than a 6% profit, and that government regulatory bodies see to this. But the return on the book value of common stock in many giant utilities exceeds 15%. Their net profit is more than 20% of their revenue far more than is received by risk-taking free-enterprise businesses.

From 1956 through 1962, eight I.O.U.s each made more than $100 million in excess profits; one hundred and six utilities made a total of $3.4 billion in excess profits. For 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity, you pay $13.44 to Boston Edison, an I.O.U., but only $5 to Seattles city-owned power system, which nevertheless pumps millions of dollars into the city treasury every year. Overcharges can cost many a family thousands of dollars during the breadwinners working life. This book names the companies that are exploiting the public and exposes the secrets of their financial operation. It reveals in documented detail the apparatus set up by utility companies, often paid for with the customers money, for the dissemination of propaganda through radio, press, advertising, and in our schools and legislatures. It also tells how electric consumers unknowingly finance extremist organizations, which receive regular contributions from the I.O.U.s.

The authors tell us how we can remedy these evils without injury to fair and profitable private ownership. They show us what is wrong with present government regulation and how to make it effective and helpful to both utilities and consumers; how competition can be strengthened, to the benefit of all even in this mammoth, monopolistic industry.

Combining a broad background of legislative, judicial, and academic experience, the authors have presented the first definitive book to deal with the vast problems of electric power today, and the urgent need and opportunity for eliminating abuses.


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