Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chavez, Joe Kennedy and Oil Math


However, reality has a tendency to get in the way of press events for Citgo and Citizens Energy Corporation such as the scenes of Joe Kennedy driving up to house in a Citgo truck to deliver 40% cheaper heating oil from his “not-for-profit energy company.” The last thing anyone involved in this program wants is for someone to look behind the curtain.

First, Citizens Energy Corporation is not the organization that is directly involved with the program. Rather, one has to first look to a holding company, which is a for-profit and wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens Energy’s called Citizens Enterprises Corporation: first, eighty-six percent of Mr. Kennedy’s over $400,000 annual salary comes from this organization. Second, among the nine companies that it manages is Citizens Program Corporation, which directly handles the Citgo heating oil program. This company went from having almost no assets in 2004 to recording the purchase and later sale of over two million dollars worth of oil in 2005. Then in the first half of 2006 they managed to buy over ten million dollars in oil which they sold for over sixteen million dollars.

However there’s a problem with the math in these deals. According to Citgo 40 million gallons of oil went to help 181,000 households last year, however Citizens Energy claims it was 170,000 households. Now if you take the average cost of home heating oil (which was $2.43 per gallon), and the amount of $6,463,078 that Citizens Programs Corporation claimed to have spent on this program, the greatest number of gallons they could have been provided was 2,657,702. This is significantly less than the forty million gallons Citgo claims to have provided. If this amount was supplied to the 170,000 families that Kennedy claims to have helped, it would mean that each of those homes would have received only 15.6 gallons (or 14.6 gallons if Citgo is to be believed).


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