LUS filing exposes BellSouth’s real agenda

LUS has responded to the BellSouth lawsuit according to reports in both the Advocate and the Advertiser. That suit aims to cripple LUS’ ability to do business by making LUS appear to the bond market as an independent start-up with no resources. If successful, it would raise the costs of bond-based borrowing and increase the cost to LUS customers.

And that’s the whole point of the lawsuits: to raise the cost to LUS’ customers.

This has been a consistent goal of the incumbents; the in lieu of tax “controversy,” for instance, had little to do with taxes (since none were to be collected) and everything to do with increasing the bill presented to customers by the amount that LUS would have to have increased it if it were collecting for those taxes. That’s in a clause BellSouth and allies got included in the (un)Fair Competition Act passed by our legislature.

The incumbents ought to try competing in the classic, classy way. That will involve lowering their prices instead of engaging in legislative and judicial tricks trying to raise the costs to the competition. But the only company involved that has promised to pursue actual price competition is, shock and surprise!, the pubicly-owned local utility. Those who persist in seeing this battle through rosy ideological lenses that paint all private corporations as good guys really ought to rethink. Our situation wherein a local, publicly-owned utility is squared off against monopoly monoliths with a proven record of monopoly practices should really be a learning experience for us all.

As usual, Kevin Blanchard over at the Advocate has the more complete version of the story and walks the reader through the conceptually tough bits. The (un)Fair Competition law in question provides for pledging resources for the explicit purpose of getting the best rates. That’s pretty clear; you get to pledge your assets in the way that will result in the lowest cost to the citizens of Lafayette. Easy. But not so easy for BellSouth apparently.

From the Advocate account:

“This language is seemingly clear and explicit to anyone, except BellSouth. The City is entitled to use the ‘resources’ of its other utilities,” the LUS response says.

“It is self-evident that the bond market requires maximum security,” to secure bonds, LUS wrote.

State law also calls for governments to “not be precluded from” common practices of private companies, LUS wrote in its response.

“Surely, even BellSouth will not contend that it is not ‘legally permitted to engage in’ the pledging and payment of its corporate debt by its corporate parent,” LUS responded, quoting a portion of state law.

The point that LUS should be permitted to engage in any practice its private competition regularly resorts to is a good one. The legal standard, established in the law, by which “fair competition” should be judged is defined to mean that LUS should be allowed to do anything that its private competition is allowed to do. Leveling the playing field is the ostensible purpose of the law. BellSouth’s actions make it clear that fair competition is the furthest thing from their minds as they pursue a strategy of raising the costs to their competition’s consumer so that they don’t have to lower their own to compete.

4 thoughts on “LUS filing exposes BellSouth’s real agenda”

  1. thought I would post it again so you didn’t miss it.

    Look you little twerp, the filiers were oked by Fiber 411, Fiber 411’s name was on them, my god, how much more can we do to satisfy you. Yes, they were a like kind contribution from Bill, yes I did not “label” it specifically as filers, I just put it all up as yard signs. What difference does it make. Filers, yard signs, bumper stickers, lapel pins, what difference does it make.

    Lets settle this once and for all, you come to my office 10:00 A.M. Monday morning. I will come get you if you need. I will give you everything I have and you can file the ethics report for Fiber 411. And by the way I didn’t list the cost of phone calls I made to other cities to research fiber, I didn’t list the cost of mail to those cities to request financial information, I didn’t list whatever copy cost I had off of the machine in my office, I didn’t list the gas for my car that took me around to put up and take down signs, or go to meetings, or lunchs I had while at public speaking engagements, and I’m sure many other cost. You can add that also. What I did do was send the ethic committee all the cash contributions (some $185, I think)and total amount of the in kind contributions that I know about. If I did it wrong you can correct me.
    So I will see you at 10:00 at my office on Monday. By the way please bring the email from Max about stealing signs. And I will be at your office at 10:00 on Tuesday to view your records. I know you would want to be fair and have full disclousre. If you don’t show up, please post in your blog site that you have refused my invitation to inspect fiber 411 books, then everyone who reads your blogs can determine for themselves if you are a coward or not.
    Tim Supple

  2. Hi Tim,

    You don’t need my help to get yourself straight on this. And you aren’t going to get it.

    After a couple of repetitions here you are willing to address and own up on one of the points I raised in the original post. (The one for which I suggested an easy explanation.) Congrats.

    Now how about the others?

    You seem to think–or want people to believe–that this is all about pleasing me and that you are righteously willing to satisfy me. It isn’t about me and I haven’t asked you to prove one thing to me. It’s about the ethics commission reports. It’s all about You meeting Your obligations.

    Simple as that.

    And it can’t be cured by name-calling or histrionics.