Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saving electricity could end up costing Missourians

You have to be nuts to support this sort of taxation on your power usage.

Though it might seem illogical, the new energy efficiency charge has support from utilities, most lawmakers, the governor, environmentalists and even the state’s official utility consumer advocate. The charge covers the cost of utilities’ efforts to promote energy efficiency and cut power use.

The assumption is that charging consumers for those initiatives ultimately will cost less than charging them to build the new power plants that will be needed if electricity use isn’t curtailed.

Legislation pending before Gov. Jay Nixon would set the criteria for state utility regulators to approve the energy-savings charges. If he signs the bill, the new law would take effect Aug. 28.

When lawmakers adjourned in mid-May, Nixon listed the little-publicized energy legislation as among his proudest accomplishments, describing it as a “good, good start on an energy policy” to be developed by his Department of Natural Resources.

“To save power is the equivalent of making power,” Nixon said, “and it’s a pretty seismic shift” in Missouri’s energy strategy.

Usually, regulators allow utilities to recoup the cost of building power plants or buying more power to meet customer demand. Recently, the Missouri Public Service Commission began allowing some utilities to pass along to customers the cost of programs that reduce demand for electricity.

For example, the commission last week approved a program in which St. Louis-based AmerenUE can offer credits to businesses that voluntarily shut down or scale back their electricity use during peak demand. AmerenUE will be able to recoup the cost for the program that starts Thursday by increasing the rates it charges business customers.

So if you use more power, you get a rate hike, if you use less power, you get to pay a price for it. You have to be some sort of rube to fall for this program.

The legislation applies to KCP&L, AmerenUE and the Empire District Electric Co., the publicly traded utilities that serve nearly three-fourths of the state’s population.

The utilities would have to get approval from the five-member Public Service Commission to pass on the cost of their energy-saving programs. To do that, the programs must result in an overall reduction in energy use. The legislation also requires the charges for the energy-saving programs to be listed as a separate line item on customer bills.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that energy-saving programs offered by utilities will add about 3 percent to the average electricity rates. But it says customers who participate in the programs could save 10 percent to 20 percent on their energy bills, and even those who don’t participate might save if utilities don’t have to buy more energy or build new power plants.

“It’s one of those rare utility bills that actually works out to everyone’s benefit,” said Missouri Public Counsel Lewis Mills, the state’s official consumer advocate.

Anyone in America who has ever used power for their homes ever seen the power company lower their rates due to lower power consumption? Does anyone really think the power company and the government will allow the type of losses that would occur if people started using less power which equals less revenue? Revenue goes down, rates and taxes go up. Government is a crack whore when it comes to tax revenue.

Basically you have the idiot public in Missouri getting scammed for a price hike while thinking they are getting this massive saving value.

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