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Enron Romm: History Should Not Forget

It is a common refrain in headlines at Joe Romm’s Climate Progress:

Smearing and innuendo is hardly fair play. But in this case, Joe Romm has something embarrassing to hide. Just as Koch Industries might be his least favorite company, Enron was his darling company.

Specifically, Romm was not only a cheerleader of Enron (Enron is “a company I greatly respect,” Romm would say). He was also an unpaid consultant and collaborator with the infamously fraudulent division, Enron Energy Services (EES), purveyor of energy efficiency service in (gamed) long-term contracts.

It is timely to reestablish the linkage between Joe Romm and once-mighty Enron Corporation, a company which went bankrupt ten years ago this month. Perhaps this history will help the combustible Romm to deal with the arguments more and funding links less. (Besides, would he like for his critics to bring in the funding link between George Soros and Center for American Progress?)

Some Romm Enron Quotations

“I hope there is something in [my book] Cool Companies Mr. Lay can refer to. I’m sorry Enron isn’t in it, but if you have any good case studies, I would love to use them as I talk to the media and Fortune 500 companies. Feel free to use my personal email.”

- Email communication from Romm to Enron, June 6, 1999.

“Your [Enron Energy Services'] folk believe what I say is possible, and, more to the point, is a reasonable ‘goal’–I have that from Tom White himself, though ‘Kyoto’ probably has more meaning as a benchmark goal so that is more my focus now. I have had many discussions with EES’s senior staff.”

- Email communication from Romm to Enron, July 23, 1999.

“We believe energy outsourcers like Enron … may ultimately manage hundreds if not thousands of buildings over the Internet.”

- Joe Romm, “The Internet and the New Energy Economy” (2002).

“Outsourcing – another New Energy Economy trend – is starting to change this. Soon it may revolutionize corporate energy efficiency investments…. Some companies have turned over their entire power supply needs to outside contractors. In March 1999, Ocean Spray announced a $100 million deal with the energy services division of Enron, a major natural gas and utility company based in Houston. Enron will use its own capital to improve lighting, heating, cooling and motors and to invest in cogeneration (the simultaneous generation of electricity and steam onsite, which is highly efficient). Ocean Spray will save millions of dollars in energy costs, have more reliable power and cut pollution, without putting up any of its own capital. In September 1999, Owens Corning, the fiberglass insulation manufacturer, announced a similar $1 billion deal with Enron.”

- Joe Romm, Testimony before the Committee on Commerce of the U.S. Senate (September 21, 2000).

Romm vs. Bradley re Enron

On four occasions,  Romm tried to discredit me via my prior employment at Enron and my direct association with Ken Lay (see here, herehere, and here).

My response to Romm turned the tables by using his own quotations about Enron (as shown by the above), and I documented how I was critical of Enron’s political capitalism model.

My counter  received thousands of views and several blog links, including here.

Note the double irony. Romm ignores the fact that I was an employee who personally challenged the company’s rent-seeking via climate alarmism. And second, Romm was a blatant enabler of Enron Energy Services, whose contracts were money losers, reflecting a paucity of economic energy savings. The hidden losses and fake profits of this division were showcased at the Lay/Skilling trial.

EES was not a “cool company,” and the companies that outsourced to EES found out they were not that cool also. And not only EES but Romm’s own nonprofit Center for Energy and Climate Solutions (CECS) went out of business too.

It has been some time since Joe Romm has pulled the Enron thing on me. But I stand ready to turn the tables on him should he again do so.

———————————–

Joseph Romm and Enron: For the Record (May 5, 2009)

Joseph Romm and Enron: More for the Record (May 8, 2009)

Market Conservation vs. Government Conservationism: Understanding the Limits to Energy Efficiency and ‘New-Economy’ ESCOs (June 25, 2009)

Enron and Waxman-Markey: Response to Joe Romm (July 2, 2009)

More Deceit from Climate Progress, Center for American Progress (Is Joe Romm shooting himself in the foot?) August 25, 2009

11 comments

1 Jon Boone { 12.19.11 at 9:15 am }

Good for you, Rob. It’s about time you exposed such intellectual galoots. Today, Romm and much of the media glitterati continue to support what amounts to dysfunctional energy technologies in order to seem “cool.” One can evaluate such nonsense either in terms of its stupidity or its hypocrisy, which for Romm, seems to be rather equally apportioned.

The cheerleading for renewables at the expense of capacity to secure profit, which was at the heart of Enron’s energy program, continues apace today as General Electric, Shell, AES, FP&L, Chevron, ExxonMobile, etc all guzzle at the renewables trough, while jackasses like Romm make such Enronesque ventures appear to be “innovative” economics–when in fact it represents the most cynical exploitation of the gullible by the craven, virtually all the public’s expense.

2 sean peake { 12.19.11 at 9:34 am }

U.S. based energy companies have been doing energy outsourcing here in Ontario for the public sector for years

3 rbradley { 12.19.11 at 9:59 am }

Sean:

Good point. Government entities need private sector help in a variety of ways, and energy outsourcing might be one of them. But private companies, at least in Enron’s day, were not as inefficient as advertised by Enron and environmental groups.

4 sean peake { 12.19.11 at 10:31 am }

I enjoy your pieces but I still don’t understand how ESCOs fail in the private sector, i.e. what are the forces working against them and how are they able to hide the flaws. Also, my concern re: public sector outsourcing, is that these appear to be stressing renewables. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the healthy FIT programs, tho’ in the long run I see no benefit: the taxpayer ends up paying more for the energy used to power these government institutions than they would through conventional energy sources. I guess it comes down to who is the actual beneficiary here, the ESCO or the government institution? I know who comes up short.

5 rbradley { 12.19.11 at 10:45 am }

With Enron’s ESCO experience, clearly too much savings were being promised relative to what was actually the company’s self-interested actions. To it was a matter of degree.

I have written on the market role of ESCOs at MasterResource here: http://www.masterresource.org/2009/06/market-conservation-vs-government-conservationism-understanding-the-limits-to-energy-efficiency-and-new-economy-escos/. Maybe I should republish this for comment.

6 Enron Romm | Watts Up With That? { 12.19.11 at 12:56 pm }

[...] the rest here at Master Resource GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough_viplite"); Rate this: Share [...]

7 Enron Romm | TaJnB | TheAverageJoeNewsBlogg { 12.19.11 at 1:39 pm }

[...] Read the rest here at Master Resource [...]

8 Andrew { 12.19.11 at 7:56 pm }

Robert,

Good stuff, have you been able to tie Al Gore into all of this yet, particularly his London based hedge fund. I have made a few comments on WUWT article that links here, including my speculation regarding Al Gore.

Also, keep an eye out on Soro’s. As this web starts collapsing Soro’s and Buffet….just keep connecting dots!

9 rbradley { 12.19.11 at 9:33 pm }

A new name has been born at Watts Up With That: Joe EnRomm. It might just stick–at least until he starts acting more like a scholar and less like an attack dog.

10 Kamren { 01.07.12 at 5:40 am }

Thanks for introducing a little rationality into this debate.

11 Energy Conservationism: Taxpayers, Consumers BewareInstitute for Energy Research | Institute for Energy Research { 07.31.12 at 8:24 am }

[...] Enron Energy Services, which was praised at the time by energy conservationism proponents, was both flawed and fraudulent. Tags: EPA, regulation, renewable energy, Solar, Wind Author:Robert Bradley [...]

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