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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 03:12 PM

1. It's rather a sucky bill. Good riddance. Don't let Republicans write alternative energy bills.

 

from the article, a fairly reasonable approach from someone who's probably a utility nerd.

Kyle Leach, director of resource policy and planning at Georgia Power, sought to reframe the argument:

”We do not view this as a property-rights issue. We do not view this as a free-market issue. We’ve also heard this bill characterized as a financing bill.”

Leach then drew the committee’s attention to the language of the bill that permits the leasing of solar panels and other devices:

”That’s literally an agreement between a buyer and a seller of electricity. Our company enters into PPAs all the time – power purchase agreements. …Literally, it is a contract to sell electricity. That is where we have great concerns about this legislation. Because it introduces a whole new class of electricity suppliers into this state. Basically, it’s deregulation.

“…As far as we can tell, these new suppliers are not bound by the Public Service Commission. There’s no oversight. They’re not bound by an EMC board of directors or municipal city council or elected officials.”

In addition, Leach said, when the sun doesn’t shine, or the wind doesn’t blow, alternative energy users will require back-up power from Georgia Power or an EMC, which will be stuck with the costs of providing the infrastructure to deliver the energy.

There are good laws, and good ways to do this. Opening the field to predatory middlemen doesn't seem like a good idea for any reason. I entirely support self-reliant power, but if corporations are going to get involved, they need to be regulated as tightly as existing utilities (never mind that that isn't anywhere near good enough, it's at least a minimum). If someone puts their own power in, they understand that they are responsible. This system would produce a new class of consumers who will end up holding public utilities, not their private contractors, responsible for failure. That is NOT a good idea.

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