Hey Steve, would you believe me if I told you that our government gives away billions from our taxes we paid that we're suppose to benefit from to a foreign nation that does not have famines, starvation and rampant poverty? Let me be clear, those billions are not loans and we actually get nothing for free from that country. Would you believe that?
Let's not forget how federal and state gov't. is helping the energy biz stay above water in Maryland and the surrounding area.
D.C., Md. Seek Power Rate Relief
$12 Billion in Payments Challenged In Complaint Joined by 4 Other States
By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; Page B01
Electricity customers in Maryland and the District will overpay for power by more than $1.9 billion through mid-2011 as new federal rules intended to stimulate construction of plants instead enrich power companies, officials alleged yesterday.
In a complaint filed with federal energy regulators, the Maryland Public Service Commission and the District's consumer advocate for utility customers joined with state regulators, advocates and electricity buyers in the mid-Atlantic region and Ohio to demand $12 billion in rate relief. The complaint says power companies in the 13-state grid operated by Pennsylvania-based PJM Interconnection used their market influence to constrain electricity supplies, causing price increases that are being passed on to customers as of last Sunday.
The federally authorized payments to the power industry to stimulate new megawatts "are merely code for a massive wealth transfer from buyers and suppliers," according to the complaint, also joined by Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Ohio officials.
"Our customers are being asked to pay a substantial premium for electricity and getting virtually no benefit from it," PSC Chairman Steven B. Larsen said yesterday,
At issue in the complaint are "capacity payments," which are intended to encourage investment in power production and are passed through to customers after utility companies buy future supplies in electricity auctions. The payments are part of the region's switch in the past decade to a deregulated, competitive market for electricity.
As a result of population growth, development and advances in technology, demand for power is soaring in the Washington region, far outstripping supply. Energy experts predict that the region will be vulnerable to brownouts as soon as 2011.
The Maryland Office of the People's Counsel estimated the average "excess" charges at $570 over three years
for residential customers of Pepco, Baltimore Gas and Electric and SMECO, an electric cooperative that serves Southern Maryland -- or about $15.85 a month
. The effect on District customers, who also are served by Pepco, would be about the same, officials said.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Mary O'Driscoll said the agency does not comment on pending complaints.
An official for Constellation Energy Group, the region's largest energy producer and the corporate parent of BGE, said the capacity payments were not necessarily designed to finance new power plants.
They also allow the company to invest in existing plants that might otherwise shut down, said Daniel Allegretti, a vice president for energy policy for Baltimore-based Constellation.
"Does new investment qualify as a new megawatt?" Allegretti asked. "The least-cost solution isn't in every case a brand-new plant on a brand-new site. Maybe it's capacity that was going to go away."
Here's the rest of the story.
D.C., Md. Seek Power Rate Relief - washingtonpost.com
About $15.85 a month? That's your monthly G-string budget Drew, isn't it?