Tell PSC: Dont Subsidize Appalachian Power Co. Energy Efficiency Better
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by Carol Nix, Chapter Energy Committee |
We need comments sent to the PSC on this issue!
If you are an Appalachian Power customer, you saw your electric rates increase 68 percent between 2000 and 2011. If that doesn’t make you gasp, just wait — there are plans afoot to squeeze even more money out of you.
Appalachian Power customers are being asked to take over the care and feeding of a couple of power plants that have become white elephants for their stockholders. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is going to consider the transfer of a portion of the John Amos and Mitchell power stations from Ohio consumers to West Virginians.
Let’s help the PSC to say “NO”
The cost of these plants will be enormous — over $1billion — and their value is actually grossly overstated. The company says that the reason for this transfer is a pro-jected increase in electricity consumption of about 1.5 percent (though the U.S. Energy Informa-tion Agency predicts 0.7 percent). The utility is asking for a surcharge on our electric bills to cover the cost of these plants, which would initially be at least 6 percent, but could go much higher as the plants age, fuel costs increase relative to gas, and pollution control becomes more expensive.
The real reason they are giv-ing us these white elephants is that it’s convenient to dump noncom-petitive coal on WV customers just to rake in more revenue. Because West Virginia utilities are regulated — utilities here are guaranteed a reasonable profit over and above their costs. That’s fair for them, but this transfer isn’t fair to us.
We need to tell the PSC that West Virginians can’t afford this con job. In our state 19 percent of the population is over 65. One-third of us make less than $25,000. How can we absorb these power plant costs?
At a public forum in Clarksburg on April 4, consumer advocate Byron Harris stated, “This case will involve a difference in vision.”
The vision of the WV Sierra Club and its allies is movement towards a more energy-efficient state. A study by Optimal Energy found that West Virginia was nearly last in the nation in offering state energy-efficiency programs. Demand-side management for businesses, load control devices for air conditioners, programmable thermostats, automated light switches, cogeneration (recycling industrial waste heat for electricity generation) — these and other ini-tiatives can meet demand at less than half the cost. Shouldn’t the Public Service Commission con-sider the cheapest way to serve the customer?
“The commissioners do take our opinions into account,” said Harris. So please take a few minutes to write a letter of protest against the transfers — we need all our voices to be heard right now.
Some points to mention:
• 27 other states demand that their utilities implement energy efficiency
• Energy efficiency means more jobs right here — as many as 19,000
• Spending money to reduce our demand is a far cheaper alternative
Or, if you prefer, write to PSC, 201 Brooks St, Charleston, WV 25301