Electric Avenues

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Electric Avenues

Deregulating utilities would only increase his power.

by Rachel Burstein

#53 Kenneth and Linda Lay, Houston, Texas. Party: Both. $224,400 total contributions.

View the Lays’ itemized contributions.

Kenneth Lay Kenneth Lay wants to light up your life. The head of Enron Corp., America’s largest seller of natural gas and electricity to utility companies, Lay hopes his company will become the “AT&T for the electricity business.” He’s lobbied Congress to let him sell directly to consumers.

Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) has introduced a helpful bit of deregulatory legislation that Lay hopes will net $30 billion in new business for his company alone. “We’re in communication with Enron all the time,” says Schaefer’s press secretary, Dana Perino.

Lay has testified that consumers could save $80 billion annually under deregulation. But environmentalists argue that unbridled competition could worsen pollution as providers turn to cheaper fuels such as coal. Constancy of service is another concern.

“It’s not like deregulating your cable company,” says Adrienne Mitchem of the Consumers Union. “If you lose electricity, it can mean life or death.”

Photo Credit: Dan Holmes

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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