Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FirstEnergy Looks to Saddle West Virginia Customers with Worst Energy

I bet reporter Pam Kasey considered the above title for her recent piece in this weeks State Journal,

Bottom line..............MonPower wants to add a surcharge to your bill to cover the purchase of coal-fired power plants that have been made economically obsolete in neighbor markets like Ohio.  MonPower would like to force you, the "captive ratepayer", to pay for the purchase through a new surcharge and then saddle you with paying for coal-fired power which is no longer price competitive with natural gas. 

MonPower is a FirstEnergy subsidiary.  FirstEnergy owns utilities in many states but it is consolidating its liability in our state and asking the Public Service Commission to make West Virginians pick up the tab. 

I could maybe get behind this move if it involved a rate hike to cover the capital expense of the power plant purchase.  At home we make most of our own power with solar.  My wife and I made an investment in power generating equipment.  We chose a generating technology that has a fuel cost of $0.  We should not be paying for either  FirstEnergy's shell game or MonPower's investment in an already outmoded and out priced  piece of generation infrastructure.  Certainly, we should not be paying a surcharge on our bill.

This piece of news is worth keeping an eye on as it concerns everyone with an electric bill in the State of West Virginia.  Take a minute to read Pam Kasey's article and keep an eye out as this story progresses - it is one of many stories that is growing out of the rapidly changing energy market, the rise of natural gas, decline of coal and shifting political power in West Virginia.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Solar Power Came in Handy During Outage - Charleston Gazette

Pat Browning submitted a beautifully written letter to The Charleston Gazette about her family's experience with their solar backup system during last months outages.  She writes,

 "When the power went off, our solar storage batteries took over, powering us through the night, recharging by day.  We did not lose refrigerated and frozen food, our fans continued to cool us, our lights, radio and television still worked, and our water still pumped without a noisy, smelly, polluting generator."  

Her piece appears next to another well written letter from a WVU alumni, Ted Bitterwolf, who reminds readers that coal is being priced out of the market place by natural gas, not by the Obama administration.  Both are well worth reading as they highlight how our energy infrastructure in West Virginia is undergoing a technological and an ideological shift which may gain us all a cleaner and more reliable energy future.