Tag Archives: Electricity

Senate Fails to Block New EPA Regulations, War on Coal Continues

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Barack Obama in January of 2008 stating his policies will bankrupt coal

As conservatives recover from the Supreme Court ruling, we cannot let Obama off on his unrepentant assault on American coal.  Obama’s war on coal is killing job throughout the country and it was disappointing that the Senate  failed last week to block the new EPA regulations that could bring the destruction of the entire industry one giant step closer.  As reported by Human Events:

Legislation to defeat an EPA emissions rule that critics say would kill thousands of jobs and raise electricity rates for consumers was killed in the Senate Wednesday. A handful of Republicans sided with Democrats to block the measure on a procedural vote of 46 yeas to 53 nays, including Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine.

Democrats who crossed over to vote with Republicans included Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia. Republicans say the mercury emission rules for coal-fired plants are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s war on coal.This effectively kills coal in America, said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the measure. Republicans said the regulations are the most expensive rules ever created by the EPA, and will cost consumers $10 billion a year in addition to killing 50,000 jobs.

This comes after the closure of ten power plants in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last February. A move that will increase the cost of electricity.  As the Washington Post reported at the time:

Jeffrey Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President George W. Bush and now represents utility companies, wrote in an e-mail that new wind projects coming online cannot simply substitute for coal plants because wind power generation is intermittent. And gas units, according to Holmstead, face pipeline supply constraints that can “take years” to resolve.

“The cost of electricity will go up — and in some places (including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania), it will go up a lot,” Holmstead wrote. “Existing coal-fired plants — even the old ones that don’t run very often — play a major role in controlling costs because they keep the marginal costs down during peak periods.”

It appears that this is one of the few pledges Obama has kept concerning bankrupting new coal plants. A promise he made back in January of 2008.  In the video the president states “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”  As Hot Air reported last March:

GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years.

The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions.

The Sierra Club cheered the announcement, of course, claiming it will prevent 179 premature deaths a year.  The Sierra Club is located in San Francisco, California, of course, and not in Pennsylvania, which will have to find some way to replace the production of 3140 megawatts of electricity each year.  The lack of production will make electricity even more expensive in the Rust Belt state where unemployment is 7.7% (about midrange for the US) and rising fuel prices will hammer the middle class already.

 

In addition, West Virginia placed three plants on the chopping block, which was probably a factor, besides distancing himself away from this toxic presidency, in Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) decision to skip this year’s Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte.  As Gateway Pundit reported via Metro News:

Ohio based FirstEnergy Corporation announces it will close three coal fired power plants in West Virginia by this fall. The closings come directly from the impact of new federal EPA regulations.

The plants to close are Albright Power Station, Willow Island Power Station, and the Rivesville Power Station. The company says 105 employees will be directly impacted.

The three plants produce 660 megawatts and about 3-percent of FirstEnergy’s total generation. In recent years, the plants served as “peaking facilities” and generated power during times of peak demand for power.

The plants operated under subsidiary Monongahela Power. Mon Power recently finished a study of unscrubbed coal fired plants in the system to determine the potential impact of the most recent environmental regulations from EPA. Company officials determined the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) made it unfeasible to retrofit or continue operating the three plants.

“The high cost to implement MATS and other environmental rules is the reason these Mon Power plants are being retired,” said James R. Haney, regional president of Mon Power and president of West Virginia Operations for FirstEnergy.

Obama’s reckless policy of destroying affordable energy should be another issue in the Romney camp’s arsenal that could be used to hammer the president as anti-job and too beholden to the environmental left.  The war on coal continues and the fate of 100,000 jobs and the price of electricity hang in the balance.  Does anyone want to pay the Obamatax on top of a higher electric bill?  And that’s not counting federal and state income taxes, social security taxes, and medicare taxes. Feeling taxed enough already…you’re not alone.

Ambit Energy Earns “Top 5 Electric Provider” Honors in Texas

 

DALLAS, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — For the second consecutive year, Ambit Energy was named a “top five electric provider in Texas” based on a recent customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates. The survey considered the responses of 8,100 Texas residential customers about their overall satisfaction with their electricity provider, increasing Ambit Energy’s overall customer satisfaction index by 26 points from 2010.

The 2011 Texas Residential Retail Electric Provider Customer Satisfaction Study™, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with retail electric utility providers in Texas by considering four key factors: price; billing and payment; communications; and customer service.

Ambit Energy earned top rankings in the categories of communications performance, retailer loyalty and enrollment:

  • Ranked first in communications when customers were asked about satisfaction in communicating changes, new offers/promotions and using attention-grabbing messaging.
  • Ranked first in number of positive recommendations to friends, family and coworkers about customer’s current energy provider.
  • Ranked first in positive percentage growth, with most respondents switching providers to Ambit Energy in the past 12 months.

“We are proud that Ambit Energy has been named a top electric service provider in Texas for the second year in a row,” said Jere Thompson Jr., Ambit Energy co-founder and CEO. “With our competitive energy rates and attractive customer rewards, our focus on customer satisfaction is essential to Ambit being the finest and most-respected energy company in America.”

Since 2006, Ambit Energy has continued to grow in both customer size and market presence. Ambit recently reported reaching the 600,000 customer milestone in the third quarter of 2011. The company has expanded service to five new markets in the past year, with plans to expand to several more before the end of 2011.

About Ambit Energy

Ambit Energy is a Dallas-based retail energy provider of electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets across the U.S., including regions of Texas, Illinois, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Ambit Energy was named the fastest-growing private company in America for 2010 by Inc. magazine. Focused on being the finest and most-respected energy provider in the industry, Ambit Energy offers smart, cost-effective choices for today’s energy consumer. For more information on Ambit Energy service or to join the Ambit Energy team, visit http://www.AmbitEnergy.com or call (877) 28-AMBIT.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratingscar insurancehealth insurancecell phone ratings, and more, please visitJDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

SOURCE Ambit Energy

CONTACT: Robin Stevens of Ambit Energy, 1-877-654-3397, [email protected]

 

Web Site: http://www.jdpower.com


Looming Utility Rate Hikes Could Devastate Some Idaho Residents

Over 40% of Idaho’s 50+ Struggling to Pay Current Utility Bills as Idaho Power and United Water Press for Rate Hikes

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As if Treasure Valley residents didn’t have enough to worry about when it comes to household budgets – Idaho Power and United Water want to add one more to the mix: higher utility bills. AARP says the hikes could prove devastating to some Treasure Valley residents, particularly the elderly, and is calling on the Idaho Public Utilities (PUC) to deny both companies’ requests.

Idaho Power is pressing for an 8.8% electric rate increase, while United Water is proposing a near 20% hike – both taking effect in 2012 if approved by the PUC.   AARP stands in strong opposition to the rate hikes, which are currently under PUC review.

“The rate hikes being requested are a bad idea in a good economy, but in today’s economy, they are a horrible one,” said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP.  “To many Treasure Valley families already living on the brink financially, higher utility bills could simply push them over the edge.”

To make matters worse, hidden in the 110 page Idaho Power rate hike request is a little known measure that could cost consumers even more – a move making permanent a fixed cost adjustment, also called “decoupling.” The measure leaves customers paying a fixed rate to cover Idaho Power’s revenue while having another charge subject to the company’s energy sales.  If energy sales are bad, the customer automatically has to pay more, if sales are good, the customer will pay less, and in either case the company’s revenue is always covered.  The proposal shifts any shortcomings in energy profits from shareholders onto customers – penalizing consumers for using less electricity by making them pay more.  Decoupling is currently in place temporarily for Idaho Power.

Also tacked onto the Idaho Power request is a $1 increase in the customer service charge.

“Idaho Power and United Water don’t deserve these rate hikes and AARP is urging the PUC to say ‘No Way,” added Wordelman.  “AARP hopes to see public hearings scheduled soon on these rate hikes, where the public can make their voices heard loud and clear.”

Over 40% of Idahoans 50+ reported difficulty affording their utility bills this past year according to a recent AARP survey (http://bit.ly/gBePOb).  Older individuals spend a much higher percentage of household income on utility bills, for the low income elderly, the bills can account for 24% of their expenditures.

Utility companies across Idaho are pressing for similar rate increases that would affect most residents’ utility bills, if approved by the PUC.  Rocky Mountain Power is requesting a rate hike of 7.2% for electric customers (and an increase of 16% for Time of Use customers- those paying for energy based on the time of day they use it), while Avista is proposing a 3.6% increase for residential electric bills and 3.5% for natural gas customers (this would be on top of a 3.59% rate hike in 2010, a 3.92% hike scheduled to hit consumers Oct. 1st of this year, and a 1.74% hike hitting in 2012 – part of a 3 year 9% rate “deal.”  Also included is a proposal to increase customers’ service charges by $.50 a month).

AARP is calling on the PUC to deny the rate hikes and is urging its members and the public to join the fight to make it happen.  The public can get more information on the issue, how to get involved and file comments on the rate hikes by visiting www.aarp.org/ID, and get regular updates by following AARP Idaho on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AARPIdaho.

AARP is Idaho’s largest membership organization with 180,000 members.

Follow us on Twitter @AARPIdaho and Facebook: AARP Idaho

SOURCE AARP Idaho

CONTACT: David Irwin of AARP Idaho,             +1-208-855-4004      ,             +1-208-850-4502

Web Site: http://www.aarp.org/id

NC Electric Cooperatives Advise: What to Do When the Lights Go Out

RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are reporting approximately 100,000 outages from Hurricane Irene, whose destructive winds and heavy rains lashed North Carolina this morning. As expected, these outages are primarily along the coast and east of I-95. Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are completely without power. As Hurricane Irene proceeds on its path, additional outages are likely.

As the storm departs, cooperative linemen and contractors from North Carolina and other states will immediately begin restoring service as quickly as possible. Here are some tips on what to do if there is a power outage in your area.

  • Turn off every inside light except one.
  • Raise your cooling system thermostat to 80 degrees or higher.
  • If possible, turn off your electric water heater.
  • Make sure your kitchen range and oven is off.
  • Turn off as many appliances as possible.
  • Avoid opening the freezer door. A full, freestanding freezer will keep food at freezing temperatures about 2 days; a half-full freezer about 1 day.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and call your local cooperative at once!
  • Leave your porch light on. It will help utility workers gauge their progress in restoring power to your area.
  • When the power comes back on, gradually switch on your appliances, lights and air conditioning.

 

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.

Renewed Calls on Obama and Democrats to Focus on America

NEW YORK, July 21, 2011 — Leading Independent and Senior Energy Executive Karl W. Miller today renewed calls for President Obama to start listening to senior industry executives and experts, resolve the U.S. real estate crisis, address depression era unemployment and put a credible national energy plan in place. The debt limit sideshow is a “red herring” and deferring focus away from the true problems facing the U.S. economy.

According to Mr. Miller:

The U.S. economy runs on three key factors: i) a stable housing market; ii) affordable and dependable energy supply; and iii) stable employment environment. Without these three critical factors functioning properly, there will be no meaningful economic recovery in the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Federal Reserve must stop subsidizing the defunct real estate loans in the residential and commercial marketplace which must be properly vetted, written down to net realizable value, and moved off the banks, hedge funds and insurance company books.

The U.S. regulators must force this to happen without preference for any specific group. There will be bankruptcies, bank failures and forced liquidations; these are the cold hard facts of a capitalist society, which the U.S. economy is founded upon.

Politicians must acknowledge where the U.S. economy and energy industry are today. We have serious and deep-rooted problems with no credible national energy plan in place and must start addressing these problems immediately.

The U.S. needs a credible and sensible energy policy and emissions plan. Subsidies and handouts do not work, never have and never will. Natural gas is not the “Holy Grail” but will remain a power generation fuel, heating fuel and select industrial manufacturing fuel. The U.S. has substantial cheap and dependable coal supplies which provide over fifty percent (50%) of the nation’s electricity generation.

President Obama and the Democrats failed to “recognize” the message that the American people sent them in November 2010 as the economy continues to decline, unemployment continues to grow and the real estate crisis continues to worsen.

It is time for Washington to take stock in America and start executing on a credible business plan. Failure to execute is cause for termination in Washington.