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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why President Obama Should Address Structural Racism and Monopoly in the $737 Billion Dollar Electric Power Industry

How GE Energy Financial Services, Southern California Edison and Magic Johnson Enterprises have all blocked and undermined my efforts to obtain a Power Purchase Agreement on a large-scale solar project.

By John Quincey Moaning

President Obama Speaking on Energy

President Obama speaking about renewable energy in the summer of 2014.

Nationwide — In no sector is the mal-distribution of wealth and collusive monopoly so evident and blacks totally excluded economically from business ownership participation than the electric power industry, a robust, $737-billion-plus market where African-American headed households spend roughly $30 billion annually on energy consumption. According to statistics provided by the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), 40 percent of the energy consumers are non-white.

For centuries, whites have used their ownership and control to block and impede any efforts by blacks to acquire wealth and businesses. In a nation which claims to be an equal opportunity, color-blind society, structural racism and its monopolies have virtually rendered Black Americans to a permanent underclass, as whites have total control over wealth, power, resources and basic necessities of life.

Following 500 years of Jim Crow and slavery – which led to 20 to 35 million blacks outright killed and another 15 million physically enslaved, psychologically abused, academically impaired and economically impoverished, Black America’s percentage of ownership of the nation’s wealth remains where it was in the 1860s on the eve of the Civil War. At that time, when nearly every Black person in America was either in full slavery or semi-slavery, Blacks owned one-half of one percent of this nation’s wealth.

As one of only a very few African-American renewable energy project developers, I have spent nearly 15 years doing the off camera, unglamorous work of developing infrastructures necessary for participation in the electric power industry – no African-American owned large scale generating project has ever been awarded a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from any commercial utility company in the United States.

One of our most recent renewable energy developments, The Blue Diamond/GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS) 250 MW Solar Project (an $800 million solar development project), was intended to be the first African-American owned-large scale generating project in the history of Southern California Edison or any commercial utility company in the United States.

The project sponsors were Blue Diamond Renewables, LLC with a 51 percent ownership and GE EFS with a 49 percent planned equity structure to be compliant with General Order 156, a supervised voluntary program which encourages active participation of the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) to procure or contract goods and services from Women – Minorities – and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (WMVBE).

In 2012, the project was destroyed by SCE, GEFS and Magic Johnson Enterprises during bi-lateral negotiations granted by SCE to Blue Diamond Renewables, LLC. GE EFS offered to partner with Blue Diamond Renewables, LLC, after the company’s wind power offering was not shortlisted on a previous Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by SCE in 2011.

Saying that MJE had been given ten percent of Blue Diamond’s ownership position of the solar project by Southern California Edison, I received a call from Mr. Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. requesting to meet and formalize his company’s partnership stake, despite having no prior communication or business relationship with MJE.

Following a series of telephone conference calls with MJE, a dinner meeting, offered by SCE and MJE at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, ended disastrously with an African-American executive from SCE and members of MJE physically running out of the establishment within five seconds, leaving me to pay a nearly $1,000 tab after resisting their demands to offer MJE ten percent of the proposed solar project, offering only “name equity” for its contribution.

I was completely taken aback by the group’s abrupt behavior, as was the restaurant manager from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar who threatened to call the police on representatives of SCE and MJE for nonpayment – after eating hefty portions of filet mignon, lobster, jumbo shrimp and consuming expensive wine. The self dealing by the executives resulted in the loss of purchase agreement valued at more than $100 million to Blue Diamond Renewables, LLC.

Discovery has since shown that GE EFS, working with and through the former SCE executive, backed doored Blue Diamond Renewables with Magic John Enterprises, attempting to obtain a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, utilizing my trade secrets, business plan, pricing structure models and pro forma financials. A civil complaint (CV 13-04611 RSWL) was filed in the Federal District Court of California in 2013 against GE EFS, SCE and Magic Johnson Enterprises.

The GE EFS representative, who worked in collusion with SCE and Magic Johnson Enterprises to rob Blue Diamond Renewables of this life time opportunity, was recommended to me by LaDoris Harris, also a former GE executive who currently serves as Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the United States Department of Energy.

Ms. Harris was nominated to her current position by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 29, 2012. Prior to her confirmation, Ms. Harris, as then President and CEO of Jabo Industries, sought to manage Blue Diamond’s renewable energy opportunities within the United States and Africa.

Through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, GE is now positioned to get billions of American tax payers’ dollars to offset its’ investments in Africa. President Obama’s initiative calls for 30,000 megawatts of additional capacity and expand access to electricity to 60 million households and businesses.

It has also been reported that GE’s revenues exceeded $5.2 billion across 30 African countries in 2013; and the company has won more than $8.3 billion in orders in Africa in the last 12 months. GE’s long-term growth is critically dependent upon Africa.

Black Americans, who voted overwhelmingly for President Obama (at least 95 percent in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012) and were unofficially declared an obsolete workforce nearly 40 years ago, should call for the government to intervene on its behalf and force a White monopoly to divest itself of some of its wealth, resources and power.

Black Americans should also call for economic and political reform. African Americans are also within their rights to demand reparations from such companies as GE, whose wealth foundation is deeply rooted in slavery. Pivotal to the development of shaping the corporate landscape in many industries is John Pierpont Morgan, a famous industrialist. Morgan was the mastermind who engineered many industrial giants, including GE, AT&T, Westinghouse, RCA and U.S. Steel. A major slave trader, whose slave auction that he owned still stands in Alexandria, Virginia, Morgan, in 1892, packaged a number of smaller electrical concerns into the General Electric Company (GE), greatly reducing competition in the electrical industry. Morgan established over 300 monopolies, combinations and trusts.

In such pluralistic society, where one can’t be a fully participating citizen without economic means, it is imperative that Black Americans establish a National Empowerment Plan to become competitive and self-sufficient. Otherwise, in the midst of increasing racial conflicts and Black Americans chasing social integration and civil rights, we stand as a race soon to become extinct.

John Quincey Moaning is an African-American renewable energy project developer in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at (832) 724-9418 or johnmoaning@yahoo.com.

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