Pbs's Frontline to Air First Television Investigation of California Energy Crisis

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Pbs's Frontline to Air First Television Investigation of California Energy Crisis

Copyright 1996-1999 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.

BOSTON, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- FRONTLINE and The New York Times join forces to investigate the story behind the California energy crisis in "Blackout," a new documentary airing Tuesday, June 5, at 10 P.M. on PBS (check local listings). Through interviews with utility executives, industry insiders, and state and federal officials, the one-hour documentary examines how profits of both power companies and energy-trading giants have soared amid a deregulation process that has produced blackouts and rate hikes for consumers. The program also explores why the federal government refused for months to intervene in the California crisis, as well as the rationale for dismantling the old system of utility regulation.

"Blackout" examines the importance of a new kind of megacorporation: giant, national holding companies that trade electricity and gas much like any other commodity. With names like Enron, Dynegy, Reliant, and El Paso -- and with close ties to high-ranking Republican and Democratic officials -- these energy traders have seen their profits explode in recent years even as consumers endured power shortages and rate hikes.

FRONTLINE and The New York Times interview key figures on both sides of the energy debate, including Vice President Dick Cheney, California Governor Gray Davis, Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, and Curt Hebert, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). State utility executives and citizens' advocates, who charge that California's deregulation fell prey to market manipulation, are also interviewed.

Following the broadcast, viewers can learn more about the energy crisis by logging on to FRONTLINE's companion "Blackout" Web site -- http://www.pbs.org/frontline/shows/blackout In addition to articles and in- depth interviews on the power crunch, the site will feature graphs and timelines illustrating the origins of the California crisis, America's historical and projected power usage, and the profits of the major power companies and energy-trading giants. The site also will offer an analysis of the Bush administration's energy plan.

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 01, 2001


This is gut-wrentching. Still more left-wing bilge. If they averaged out the energy companies' profits for the past five years, instead of concentrating on the last year, they would find that there is nothing at all abnormal about their operations.

-- Billiver (billliver@aol.com), June 02, 2001.

I get a little tired of seeing all the negative comments in this forum.

This is the greatest country on earth. We will fight our way out of this.

-- Polly-Anna (polly-anna@webster.net), June 02, 2001.


-- Missi (missminnesota@cliffsend.net), June 02, 2001.

God help us. Are they going to come up with, yet, another conspiracy?

-- Uncle Fred (dogboy45@bigfot.com), June 02, 2001.

Frontline and the New York Times join forces. That should tell it all. Could you believe from such a joint report that anything but greedy corporations are at fault?

-- RogerT (rogerT@c-zone.net), June 02, 2001.

Sorry. I thought I was doing a favor by posting that information. This forum is starting to depress me. Maybe some of the responders can find other things to post more in light of their own ideology. Maybe time to pass the baton. Any volunteers?

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 02, 2001.

I see not even a hint of criticism of you, Martin, just a lively discussion of the story CONTENT. And, I believe controversy is GREAT. It stokes up a lot of interest in posted stuff, among a lot of people who get tired of the bland, PR-handout type news that appears all too frequently elsewhere. I'd say keep hitting hot buttons. That's what makes this forum so interesting, and keeps me, for one, coming back.

-- JackW (jpayne@webtv.net), June 02, 2001.

I second the motion. Personally, I'm grateful to see this kind of post. I don't get this kind of information anywhere else.

-- Uncle Fred (dogboy45@bigfoot.com), June 02, 2001.


I did not take it as criticism of me. I was just amazed at the criticism of a show that had not even aired yet. I myself would want to see it before I made any comments. I am sure there must be some redeeming value in it. Plus it will maybe educate the general public in some of the ongoing problems we see posted here everyday.

Glad to see you back and hope things are better.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 02, 2001.

I concur about pre-judgment. We should all wait and see.

I've been lurking for the past three months, and this is the first post I've made. I must say, however, that I find the occasional sharp exchanges of views informative, educational, and stimulating. If these disappear, I will disappear.

-- Kimberly (kimberly@c-zone.net), June 02, 2001.

Martin, Thanks for the continued fine quality of your posts.I have lurked here and there, since prior to the Y2K rollover.Because of your posts and others,I read this forum everyday .

-- steven valdiserri (valsteve11@home.com), June 03, 2001.

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