When China Owns Our Utilities

By Lynn N. Hargis
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 30 June 2005

It is a great irony that on the day President Bush called for a thorough review of China's proposed acquisition of a California-based oil company, Unocal, the United States Senate voted 85-12 to send an energy bill to conference that would allow China to own local US public utilities, without a murmur from the administration, lawmakers or the media. Perhaps this is an example of the government and the press being unable to address something that is not literally exploding under their noses at the moment. Indeed, a reputable reporter and Enron veteran assured me that China wouldn't be interested in acquiring US utilities, because they couldn't ship the electricity to China! I gently suggested that the Chinese might want to buy utilities for the same reason that America's most famous investor, Warren Buffett, wants to buy utilities (or the reason he gives, anyway): to obtain steady, reasonable and reliable utility revenues (from captive utility customers).