EPA-Mandate Will Mean Higher Electricity Costs, Says Obama Official

Carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) mandated in a proposed EPA greenhouse gas regulation on new power plants will mean higher electricity costs, a Obama administration official admitted to a House of Representatives subcommittee.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/DNtjOpj3Kys[/youtube]

When asked by how much CCS will add to the cost of electricity generated by coal plants, Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal Dr. Julio Friedmann told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that first generation technology will add “something like a 70 to 80 percent increase on the wholesale price of electricity.” The cost increase from more efficient, second generation CCS is expected to onlybe half that amount.

CCS is the cornerstone to EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power plants. The technology is still not commercially viable. As Dan Byers wrote in a post on EPA’s proposed regulation:

The EPA is mandating carbon capture sequestration (CCS), but as an integrated technology, CCS has never been demonstrated on a commercial power plant, and is nowhere near ready for broad deployment. This fact has been argued by the federal government itself….

Not only does the Obama administration acknowledge that the technology isn’t ready, it also admits that it will significantly increase electricity costs.

The Sierra Club Hates Energy

If I told you that you should hate coal, oil and natural gas, you might think I was crazy and you would be right. Everything we do involves these three energy reserves and the U.S. has so much of them that we could be energy independent of the rest of the world while, at the same time, exporting them.

When you think about energy reserves, think about the hundreds of thousands of jobs they represent. Then think about the huge revenue in leases and taxes they represent to the government that needs to reduce its debt. Ultimately, though, try to imagine a nation that does not utilize petroleum in thousands of ways or fails to tap its enormous coal and natural gas reserves to generate the electricity upon which that everything depends.

I recently received an email from the Sierra Club praising the President’s State of the Union speech in which he claimed that climate change—by which they mean global warming—is real and that the science is “settled.” No, the science entirely refutes it—except if one means that the climate has always been a state of change. The most recent climate change is seventeen years of cooling that has gifted us with record-breaking cold as far south as Florida.

What Sierra Club focused on was Obama’s call for “new sources of energy” other than the traditional ones. He was referring to solar and wind energy. A recent news article on CNSNews noted that “Solar power, which President Barack Obama promoted…accounted for 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply in the first nine months of 2013, according to data published by the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration.”

According to the EIA, “the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office…From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent.”

Some might take this as a good thing, but “electricity has gotten more expensive since 2008—with the electricity price index at an all-time high.” So we are paying more while getting less.

The Sierra Club, however, criticized Obama saying “As long as his administration keeps throwing lifelines to old sources of energy like oil and gas, we won’t be able to lead the world on clean energy solutions like wind and solar.” They called for an “end to oil and gas fracking on public lands.” What they are not saying is that the Obama administration has virtually put an end to any exploration and extraction of energy sources on public lands. And you can forget about the massive reserves estimated to exist off-shore of our coasts.

In early January, Mark D. Green, the editor of Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, examined the reality of our vast energy sources. Keep in mind that every product we purchase is dependent in some way on oil. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil” that provide power for our vast transportation needs and thousands of other uses. Oil is the basis for the creation of plastic. Try to imagine living without anything that does not utilize plastic in some fashion.

As for natural gas, experts predict that lower prices as more is discovered via fracking, will increase industrial output 2.8 percent by 2015 and 3.9 percent by 2025. Policies that would allow the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas would generate between $15.6 billion and $73.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and help reduce our deficits and debt.

The Sierra Club doesn’t want to see the U.S. benefit from coal, oil and natural gas. It wants to see the landmass filled with solar farms and thousands of wind turbines that would not produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nation, let alone a major city. Because they are unpredictable, all require the backup of traditional plants.

Nor does the Sierra Club make any mention of the Obama administration’s war on coal that has forced 153 plants to shut down. It’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that would require new plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not commercially available! Nor is there any reason to capture carbon dioxide, the gas that is the “food” that every single piece of vegetation requires; a gas that plays virtually no role at all in the Earth’s climate.

As this is being written, the State Department just released a report that would clear the way for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada after a five-year delay by the Obama administration. Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and natural gas. If the U.S. cannot gain access to the oil, it will go to China and other nations.

The prospect of the pipeline was rejected by the Sierra Club. Friends of the Earth announced that it would join with the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and other radical Green groups to hold vigils around the nation Monday to protest its possible approval and construction.

The Sierra Club is not only lying to its members, it is lying to all of us when it says “Getting all of the energy we need without using fossil fuels is no longer a question of whether we can—but whether we will.” We can’t, we shouldn’t, and we won’t…but we must wait until Obama is no longer in office and, as early as the 2014 midterm elections, we must rid our nation of his supporters in Congress.

Then we will watch our nation’s economy expand with more jobs and more revenue.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Terrorists attack CA Power Station: National Power Grid Vulnerable

Today’s  Wall Street Journal  (WSJ) had a front page story that raises question of the vulnerability of our national power grid to terrorist attack given an incident that occurred in Silicon Valley in April 2013. It is only now surfacing  in the national media, “Assault on Power Grid Raises Alarms”.

In the early morning of April 16, 2013, the Metcalf, California transmission substation in Silicon Valley was attacked by what federal investigators believe was a highly professional terrorist team .  That sniper  assault  caused 17 transformers to crash severing power to  Internet Service Providers  and other power users in  Silicon Valley.  Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) was forced to  increase and reroute power to the area served by the disabled transmission station.  The recovery  took 27 days for PG&E to repair and bring  the transmission substation back online.

Grid Attack diagram WSJ 2-5-14

Graphic of timeline of Metcalf attack. For a larger view click on the image.

Here is the time line of the Metcalf incident as compiled by the WSJ:

At 12:58 a.m., AT&T fiber-optic telecommunications cables were cut—in a way that made them hard to repair—in an underground vault near the substation, not far from U.S. Highway 101 just outside south San Jose. It would have taken more than one person to lift the metal vault cover, said people who visited the site.

Nine minutes later, some customers of Level 3 Communications,  an Internet service provider, lost service. Cables in its vault near the Metcalf substation were also cut.

At 1:31 a.m., a surveillance camera pointed along a chain-link fence around the substation recorded a streak of light that investigators from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office think was a signal from a waved flashlight. It was followed by the muzzle flash of rifles and sparks from bullets hitting the fence.

The substation’s cameras weren’t aimed outside its perimeter, where the attackers were. The shooters appear to have aimed at the transformers’ oil-filled cooling systems. These began to bleed oil, but didn’t explode, as the transformers probably would have done if hit in other areas.

About six minutes after the shooting started, PG&E confirms, it got an alarm from motion sensors at the substation, possibly from bullets grazing the fence, which is shown on video.

Four minutes later, at 1:41 a.m., the sheriff’s department received a 911 call about gunfire, sent by an engineer at a nearby power plant that still had phone service.

Riddled with bullet holes, the transformers leaked 52,000 gallons of oil, then overheated. The first bank of them crashed at 1:45 a.m., at which time PG&E’s control center about 90 miles north received an equipment-failure alarm.

Five minutes later, another apparent flashlight signal, caught on film, marked the end of the attack. More than 100 shell casings of the sort ejected by AK-47s were later found at the site.

At 1:51 a.m., law-enforcement officers arrived, but found everything quiet. Unable to get past the locked fence and seeing nothing suspicious, they left.

A PG&E worker, awakened by the utility’s control center at 2:03 a.m., arrived at 3:15 a.m. to survey the damage.

Watch this video for the Santa Clara Police Department released in June 2013 published in the San Jose Mercury:

The WSJ noted that PG&E put out a news release saying it was “vandals” who caused the incident.  Note what former Federal  Electrical Regulatory Commission (FERC) head, Jon  Wellinghoff  uncovered after the event:

Mr. Wellinghoff, then chairman of FERC, said that after he heard about the scope of the attack, he flew to California, bringing with him experts from the U.S. Navy’s Dahlgren Surface Warfare Center in Virginia, which trains Navy SEALs. After walking the site with PG&E officials and FBI agents, Mr. Wellinghoff said, the military experts told him it looked like a professional job.

In addition to fingerprint-free shell casings, they pointed out small piles of rocks, which they said could have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.

“They said it was a targeting package just like they would put together for an attack,” Mr. Wellinghoff said.

Mr. Wellinghoff, now a law partner at Stoel Rives LLP in San Francisco, said he arranged a series of meetings in the following weeks to let other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, know what happened and to enlist their help. He held a closed-door meeting with utility executives in San Francisco in June and has distributed lists of things utilities should do to strengthen their defenses.

A spokesman for Homeland Security said it is up to utilities to protect the grid. The department’s role in an emergency is to connect federal agencies and local police and facilitate information sharing, the spokesman said.

The WSJ article drew attention to the problem of replacing the transformers, the target of the Metcalf terrorist  attack:

The country’s roughly 2,000 very large transformers are expensive to build, often costing millions of dollars each, and hard to replace. Each is custom made and weighs up to 500,000 pounds, and “I can only build 10 units a month,” said Dennis Blake, general manager of Pennsylvania Transformer in Pittsburgh, one of  [only]seven U.S. manufacturers.

Given our work on the EMP threat to our national grid, there are 300 critical transmission substations like Metcalf that are vulnerable to such a terrorist assault. See: Interview with Jerry Gordon on The Electronic Armageddon -The … .   A rolling assault by trained terrorist  teams  against  these 300  sub stations  could  create havoc  and a shutdown of the national  grid  far in excess of the 50 million who lost power when the Northeast grid crashed in 2003.  The grid  vulnerability  is reflected in the limited  US manufacturing capacity for large Extra High Voltage (EHV) transformers.  Most of the world’s EHV transformer manufacturing capacity is located in China, South Korea and Germany.  A study by the National Academy of Sciences indicated  that  replacement of just the 300 EVH transformers from  limited US and offshore producers could take upwards of a decade. Further national security concern is the more than 100 military bases  connected to these vulnerable civilian grids. The WSJ article also illustrates the underlying problem of utility industry opposition to HR 2417: Shield Act sponsored by  Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) which would set standards including provision for standby replacement transformers. Based on work of the  Congressionally chartered EMP Task Force a thin shield for the national grid might cost $200 million, while a more robust program could run between $10 to $20 billion.  The impact on electric utility users would be an increase in electrical rates per user of less than $.20 cents per annum.

The  North American Electric Reliability  Corporation (NERC), the principal electric utility standard setting organization,  has opposed passage of the Shield Act calling the network “resilient”.  Au contraire  says  an official of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) cited by the WSJ: “The breadth and depth of the attack was unprecedented” in the U.S., said Rich Lordan, senior technical  executive. “The motivation”, he said, “appears to  be preparation for an act of war.”  When we checked the websites of House Energy and Commerce Committee  Chairman  Fred Upton (R-MI ) and  Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) their major concerns as regards the security of the grid is vulnerability to cyber attack.  According to the WSJ  retiring  House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) raised concerns  about the lack of federal  authority to undertake protective actions regarding the safety of the national grid during FERC oversight hearings in December 2013.

Whether it is  a terrorist attack like the Metcalf substation incident, the threat of a massive geo –magnetic storm during   or an EMP caused by either North Korea or Iran , this latest WSJ report should embolden US taxpayers and electrical users to request serious  Congressional  consideration of HR2417: The Shield Act .   If any of those events occurred  that would  bring us back to pre-industrial times. If that occurs, the estimates are that more than 200 million Americans could succumb to a  pandemic  virus from lack of food, water, sanitation  and  medical treatment caused by the breakdown of industrial , transportation and communications networks.  If you are concerned about this lack of security of the national  grid, you should consider signing a petition requesting Congressional consideration of the Shield Act , here.

Listen to this August 2012 Electronic Armageddon Rob Schilling Radio Show interview with Jerry Gordon.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

A Very Cold Reality

It’s not as if those in the Northeast have not experienced bone-chilling cold or that it is predicted to extend from the Midwest down into our southern States. There may possibly be a snow storm that will require the National Football League to reschedule the Sunday, February 2nd Superbowl at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Crews spent 18 hours working to remove the snow from last week’s storm.

A visit to IceAgeNow.info yielded headlines of news stories last week that included “Record Cold—Millions of Americans hit by Propane Shortage”, “Ice and Snow Closed Texas highways This Morning”, “Ice-cover Shuts Down Work on New Hudson River Bridge”, and so you understand this is a global phenomenon, “Kashmir—Heaviest January Snowfall in a Decade”, “Heavy Snowfall Sweeps Eastern Turkey”, “Romania—Heavy Snowfall and Blizzard”. And “Bangkok Suffers Coldest Night in Three Decades—Death Roll Mounts.”

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and editor of IceCap.us says that, as the President addresses the nation on Tuesday, every State will have freezing temperatures and parts or all of 27 States will be below zero.

All this is occurring as President Barack Obama is anticipated to talk about “climate change”, a warming Earth, during his Tuesday State of the Union speech. He will be speaking to the idiots who still think the Earth is warming because they are too stupid or lazy to ask why it is so cold.

Michael Bastasch, writing for The Daily Caller on Saturday, confirmed D’Aleo’s and other meteorologist’s forecasts. “The bitter cold that has hit the U.S. East Coast is expected throughout February, and on Jan 28—the day of the address—the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to be hit with freezing cold air that could drive temperatures below zero in big cities among the I-95 corridor.”

Washington, D.C. will be one of those cities, but as Bastasch reported, “Environmentalists and liberal groups are urging Obama to use the speech to reaffirm his commitment to fighting global warming. ‘President Obama should rank the battle against climate change as one of his top priorities in his State of the Union speech next week’, said Center for Clean Air Policy president Ned Heime.”

For environmentalists, it does not matter if the real climate is a deep cold. They committed to the lies about global warming in the late 1980s and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) has maintained the hoax ever since. Along the way we learned that the computer models on which it based its assertions and predictions were rigged and bogus, but that has not deterred the IPCC which is now referring to a “pause” in global warming. This is lying on a global scale.

It was the environmental group Greenpeace that put out a television advertisement featuring a Santa Claus telling children that he might have to call off Christmas because the North Pole was melting. How malicious can they get? When a group of global warming scientists and tourists took a ship to the Antarctic to measure the “melting” ice down there, the ship got caught in the ice which also resisted the efforts of two icebreaker ships to rescue them.

We are dealing with environmental groups, the IPCC and government leaders like Obama for whom the telling of huge and blatantly obvious lies about global warming is nothing compared to the billions generated by the hoax for the universities and scientists that line their pockets supporting it and industries that benefit by offering ways to capture carbon dioxide or conserve energy by first banning incandescent light bulbs.

The “pause” has lasted now for seventeen years and, as is the case with all climate on the Earth, the reason is the Sun.

A report published by CBN News noted that “The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.”

Jens Pedersen, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, said that climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.

“Global warming is nowhere to be found,” said David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, in a January 16 commentary in The Washington Times. “As frigid conditions settled over the nation, global-warming alarmists went into full denial mode”, adding that “weather extremes also seem to bring out the lunatic fringe” and that is why the public is being told that cold weather has been caused by global warming!

Whatever the President has to say about “climate change” should be taken as just one more example of five years of lies to advance policies that have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans needing jobs or the execrable Obamacare attack on the U.S. healthcare system.

The cold reality may well be a Superbowl played on another day and a President for whom the truth is incidental to his shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the increase in the nation’s ever-growing debt, a lagging economy, and his intention to by-pass Congress rather than working with it.

That kind of thing will put a chill up any American’s spine if you think about it.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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High Energy Prices Has Europe Rethinking Energy Strategy

Europe is realizing that reliable, affordable energy is critical to economic competitiveness, and policies that pick energy winners and losers can have unintended consequences. This stems from a New York Times story on how the European Union (EU) is rethinking how it deals with greenhouse gas emissions:

On Wednesday, the European Union proposed an end to binding national targets for renewable energy production after 2020. Instead, it substituted an overall European goal that is likely to be much harder to enforce.

It also decided against proposing laws on environmental damage and safety during the extraction of shale gas by a controversial drilling process known as fracking. It opted instead for a series of minimum principles it said it would monitor.

Europe pressed ahead on other fronts, aiming for a cut of 40 percent in Europe’s carbon emissions by 2030, double the current target of 20 percent by 2020. Officials said the new proposals were not evidence of diminished commitment to environmental discipline but reflected the complicated reality of bringing the 28 countries of the European Union together behind a policy.

The “complication” being that high energy prices is one factor that’s holding back Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Take Germany, which is undergoing a energiewende or “energy revolution,” an attempt to drop both nuclear and fossil-fuel energy use from its economy and rely primarily on renewable energy. The Economist explains this audacious goal:

Germany’s last nuclear plant is to be switched off in 2022. The share of renewable energy from sun, wind and biomass is meant to rise to 80% of electricity production, and 60% of overall energy use, by 2050. And emissions of greenhouse gases are supposed to fall, relative to those in 1990, by 70% in 2040 and 80-95% by 2050.

In order to ramp up electricity production, renewable energy is heavily subsidized. So much so that Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe. As the London Telegraph reports, the result is that  German companies are becoming less competitive:

Energy prices are 40% more expensive than in France and the Netherlands, and the bills are 15% higher than the EU average. Even though Germany’s energy-intensive manufacturing sector is given a break with reduced levies, industries such as chemicals and steel are among the hardest hit, with energiewende costs of up to €740m a year.

Ironically, since Germany is giving up nuclear energy, it must turn to new coal-fired power plants for baseload electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

These kinds of unintended consequences happen when government stacks the deck for one type of energy source, especially one that’s not yet market competitive.

While Europe wades through its self-inflicted morass, this is also a lesson for environmental groups demanding that the Obama administration stop pushing an “all of the above” energy strategy (which has been lip service) and go solely down the renewable energy path.

Renewable energy has a role in a country’s economy. However, renewable energy that’s more reliable and competitive doesn’t come out of thin air; it needs innovation and investment, and both require a growing economy; and a growing economy needs dependable and affordable energy.

A sound energy policy is one that embraces America’s energy abundance and diversity. America’s energy security needs nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables, and a robust energy mix means more certainty for businesses to invest and grow.

Visit Energy Works for US to learn more about the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s proposals on making renewable energy more competitive and making America more energy secure.

Obama promise kept: “Your Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket”

There is no reason for the U.S. to be in such a slow recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. If President Obama would get out of the way, our national debt could be dramatically reduced and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created in the nation’s energy sector, leading to the expansion of its manufacturing sector and still more jobs.

As Daniel Simmons, the Director of Regulatory and State Affairs for the Institute of Energy Research told the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements in February 2013:

“The federal estate contains vast energy resources, but the federal government allows energy production on a very small percentage of taxpayer-owned federal lands. The Interior Department has leased just two percent (2%) of federal offshore areas and less than six percent (6%) of federal onshore lands for oil and gas development.”

“These technically recoverable resources total 1,194 billion barrels of oil and 2,150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that is owned by the federal taxpayer…the value of the estimated oil resources is $119.4 trillion and the value of the estimated natural gas resources is $8.6 trillion for a grand total of $128 trillion.”

As 2014 began, Mark D. Green, editor and lead contributor to Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, noted that “Oil and natural gas are the energies of our lives.” They heat and cool our homes and apartment dwellings. They fuel our vehicles and aircraft. They are components of products we use every day. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil for these uses and more.”

Green also noted the important role the energy industries play in our economy, citing the “5.6 percent (5.6%) of total U.S. employment. “With the right policies in place—pro-development policies that increase access to domestic reserves—the industry could add another 1.4 million jobs by 2030.”

Jobs for younger workers would increase because 50 percent (50%) of the oil and natural gas industry’s skilled workers could be retiring within a decade. Pro-development policies would fuel a renaissance in manufacturing as lower energy prices would reduce outsourcing and attract manufacturers to build and expand facilities in the U.S.

One factor stands in the way of this brighter economic future and that is President Obama and those who direct the work of the Environmental Protection Agency—an enemy of the coal industry—and the Department of the Interior which has slowed the provision of leases to energy companies to expand the discovery and extraction of energy resources.

Instead, Obama has delayed the construction of Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would generate jobs to build it and jobs resulting from it. Green says that “As unimaginable as it might have been just five years ago, the right policy decisions could see the U.S. meet 100 percent (100%) of its liquid fuel needs domestically or from Canada by 2014.”

Energy industries already send $85 million a day to the U.S. Treasury in income taxes, royalty payments, and other fees. Obama, though, wants to raise the nation’s borrowing limits after having added six trillion dollars in debt in his first term.

It was Obama who wasted a trillion dollars on a failed “stimulus”, discovering belatedly that there were few “shovel-ready” jobs while at the same time wasting billions in loans to wind and solar companies that went into bankruptcy shortly after receiving them.

As Simmons points out, “In 2011, wind power produced 1.2 percent (1.2%) of the energy used in the United States, solar power produce 0.1 percent (0.1%) and hydroelectric power contributed 3.3 percent (3.3%) of the total energy used. Solar and wind energy is unpredictable and require back-up from traditional electrical energy plants. “Today, there are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States and construction began for all of these reactors prior to 1974.”

Thanks to the EPA 153 coal-fired plants have been shut down!

What the public is not told is that the coal-fueled electric sector has invested $110 billion in a variety of clean coal technologies that reduced emissions by 90% and intends, over the next decade, to spend $100 billion more. Even so, the EPA continues to issue rules—New Source Performance Standard—that make operating coal-fired plants too costly to operate.

The Obama administration’s justification for its policies is the bogus claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for “global warming” or “climate change” when it plays NO role whatever regarding the Earth’s climate.

The same lies the Obama and Democrats in Congress, as well as the Health and Human Services department told Americans about the Affordable Health Act are reflected in their lies about the nation’s energy sector.

Obama has been waging a war on America’s energy needs and the benefits that would result from its expansion.

Until Obama leaves office and voters remove the opponents of the nation’s energy sector, the enormous benefits to Americans in jobs and debt reduction will not occur.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED COLUMN AND VIDEO: Under Obama, Electricity Rates Are ‘Necessarily’ Skyrocketing

Obama is Denying Energy Independence to America

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East, it occurred to me that, if we had a president who had even the slightest grasp of energy facts, we could be living in a nation that is not dependent in part on Middle East oil.

Instead, we have a president who will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be extended from Canada at no cost to American taxpayers while providing thousands of jobs, short and long-term and whose administration denies access to the nation’s vast energy reserves.

Why? Some observers say President Obama is trying to maintain his bona fides among environmentalists and it’s important to keep in mind that virtually every major environmental organization opposes any and all forms of energy development. I suspect the President simply sees the pipeline as symbolic of his overall attack on America’s ability to have sufficient energy to meet its needs and provide for growth. It is an attack on our economy.

Billions of gallons of crude oil is used daily in America and the nation has an extensive network of pipelines to transport it; approximately 55,000 miles. In addition there is also an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines, located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. Right now, hundreds of miles of Keystone XL pipe sit idle on 83 acres of leased land outside Gascoyne, North Dakota.

Testifying in April before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research, said that both America and our neighbor Mexico are energy rich countries with total recoverable oil reserves that exceed 1.7 trillion barrels. At our current rate of use, that is enough for the next 242 years.

In terms of natural gas, North America has approximately 4.2 quadrillion cubic feet, enough for 176 years at the current rate of use. U.S. recoverable coal reserves are estimated at more than 497 billion short tons; enough for nearly 500 years at our current rate of use.

As events in Egypt are reported, commentators note the importance of the Suez Canal through which much of the oil the West uses must pass, but given the U.S. oil reserves our nation could function independent of that imported oil.

Ironically, we will have to build more pipelines to transport it internally and we need to build more liquid gas facilities to export our huge reserves of natural gas. This is not likely to occur over the remaining years of the Obama administration, nor will the shutdowns of coal-fired plants in a nation that is the Saudi Arabia of coal cease. Coal in federally controlled land is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but it remains barred from mining.

Not only could the U.S. be energy independent, but could be a major exporter to other nations because oil, natural gas, and coal will comprise almost eighty percent of the global energy supply in 2040. Energy demand is expected to grow by fifty-six percent between now and 2040, mostly due to the economic growth of nations such as China and India.

The nation remains mired in an economy that is barely growing at two percent annually and part of that is due to the energy policies of the Obama administration. As this is being written, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies have quietly raised their estimated “social cost” of carbon emissions from $21 per ton to $35 per ton. The increase was not debated in Congress, nor available for public review. Instead, its announcement was buried in an unrelated Energy Department regulation on microwave ovens!

Having been defeated in its efforts to impose a tax on carbon emissions, the Obama administration is engaging in the outright fraud of claiming that carbon emissions are causing global warming/climate change. As part of its war on energy provision the Obama administrated wasted billions on wind power, solar power, and electric car company failures throughout its first term. Without mandates and subsidies, none of these enterprises could remain in business or be competitive.

The U.S. economy should be booming given the huge reserves of natural gas and oil that exist nationwide, but instead it remains hostage to nations such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time a major oil exporter, Iraq, has seen its exports reduced due to the turmoil that has escalated since the U.S. military was withdrawn. Sanctions on Iran affect its oil exports. Expect the cost of oil to remain high for years to come.

The U.S. is suffering from the attacks on its energy sector by the major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth at the same time the Obama administration continues its regulatory attacks to reduce the coal mining industry and restrict access to oil reserves. In states and on privately owned lands, there is a boom in natural gas extraction.

Every American who fills up his auto’s gas tank, air conditions or heats their home or apartment, and whose livelihood is directly affected by the cost and availability of energy is being held hostage by the Obama administration, forced to pay higher costs and forced to suffer the loss of opportunity in a nation whose access to its own vast energy reserves is being denied.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Smart Meters – The Gateway to Time of Use Rates

Smart meters collect detailed energy usage data at certain time intervals. When initially deployed, utilities and government entities will talk up the reasons and benefits as being “to provide users with more information in order to better manage their energy”. Consumers who have studied the smart grid and the purpose of smart meters will point to their main purpose as being necessary for “time of use (TOU) billing.” Utilities and government officials will accuse them of “fear mongering”.

Well, California is ahead of Florida, so let’s look at their experience with smart meters. A few days ago, San Francisco Gate reported that the California Public Utilities Commission is proposing sweeping new rate changes for California’s Investor Owned Utilities. Guess what they entail – time of use pricing!

SF Gate reports that residential customers with typical monthly usage of 600 kilowatts will see their bills rise 13% if they stay on flat rates and 16% if they switch to TOU pricing and don’t “change their habits”. What changes in habit are they talking about? Running those dishwashers and washing machines at times that they don’t want you to use energy.

For residential customers who use 1200 kilowatts, well they will see reductions of 14-17% in their bills. What you say? Hasn’t everyone been saying we need to conserve energy so we don’t have to build power plants and turn on peak power plants? The article goes on to claim that changes made during the last energy crisis caused an imbalance in pricing where heavy users were subsidizing low users.

Although there is a choice, note that everyone will be automatically enrolled in TOU pricing unless they “specifically” choose to stick with tiered rates.

Last year, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) proposed time of use pricing too. An editorial in the Sacramento Bee stated “The current system results in heavy users unfairly subsidizing low-use customers who use a disproportionate amount of electricity during times of peak demand. It sends the wrong price message to customers.”

The narrative is changing in California. But that is no surprise, as it changed in other places around the globe that have deployed smart meters and then later mandated time of use rates.

I questioned the Public Service Commission back in May 2012 on smart meter deployment asking “FP&L states we can have access to our usage on a continually basis. … The only time this becomes important information, as a consumer to have, is when you move to pricing based on “time of day usage”. Is this where we are heading with this “smart grid” and if so shouldn’t the public be alerted now?”

Walter Clemence responded in an e-mail on June 6, 2012 as follows:

“Will time-of-use rates become mandatory after smart meters are deployed?

Time-of-use rates are optional and customers may continue to take service under their current rate schedule.  Customers have had the option of time-of-use rates since 1974. “

Pay close attention to the words he used. He did not say that there were “no plans to move to TOU pricing”. And in fairness, California is letting those that want to stay on flat rate pricing do so. But as smart consumers know, that with nearly 20% rise in rates, eventually good comrades do what the State demands. They comply.

Google “smart meters and dynamic pricing” and see what you find.  There is a 10-year audit trail on their plans to move everyone to dynamic pricing and change behaviors through pricing. And just for the record, TOU pricing is just an interim step; the ultimate goal is “real time” pricing (RTP). This is a staged implementation for a reason. It’s like the frog. Put him in boiling water and he will jump out. Put him in cold water and gradually turn up the heat and he stays there until he can no longer get out.

Skeptics (pro-smart grid) will argue changing consumer behavior is essential and they will talk about the overloaded grid. But the forecast for electricity load growth tells a different story. Check out this Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, July 23, 2013 presentation to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Electricity Load Growth is expected to decline.

Source: July 23, 2013, Utility Business Models in a Low Load Growth/High DG Future, Charles Goldman, Andy Satchwell, and Peter Cappers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

What’s in store for Florida? Can all its seniors handle staying up until 7:00 p.m. to do their laundry? Perhaps they will offer senior special discounts so they can afford to run the air conditioners during those hot summer afternoons. The rest of us will pay or sweat.

EDITORS NOTE: TOU means that instead of a single flat rate for energy use, time-of-use rates are higher when electric demand is higher. This means when you use energy is just as important as how much you use. To learn more about time of use rates watch this video from Pacific Gas & Electric:

RELATED COLUMN: DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

Florida Public Service Commission caves to FP&L smart meter demands

As expected the Florida Public Service Commission approved the staff recommendation today to allow FP&L to charge $95 upfront and $13 per month to those customers who wish to opt out of a smart meter.

My apologies, I did not know you could call in and make verbal public comments at this meeting over the phone. One citizen did that.

The OPC did little but suggest a reduced fee of $75 upfront and $10/month and based it off of California. They also recommended two paragraph’s be included in the Order. It was read quickly and I did not fully understand the significance, if any, of those inclusions. But basically OPC supported the tariff and the fee being charged.

Health and medical exemptions were never even discussed. No discussion of the definition of a non-communicating meter occurred, nor any of the other issues brought up to mitigate costs such as self-readings.

FP&L did admit that the fee needed to be and was designed to be high enough to disincentivize opt outs!

When questioned, they claimed customers who had an analog could keep it but also said there were NO savings by people opting out (which is not true since they will not be spending money putting on a smart meter). They also re-enforced that at any time if a customer wants to switch from an analog to a smart meter that there would be NO fee. Those customers refusing to pay the fees will be put into their normal collection process for non-payment. They admitted that the $77 visit charge may not occur for all customers but some customer may have 5 visits and it is meant to be an average assumption (so much for cost based and cost causer!).

If you wish to watch the meeting, it will be archived at this link and Item #6 starts at the 57 minute mark: http://www.floridapsc.com/agendas/audiovideo/index.aspx

FP&L will be revising their tariff and resubmitting today to reflect the staff recommendations. They indicated that they expected this service to become effective in May 2014 (I assume that is when they will start charging us).

If no protest is filed, the Order will become effective in 21 days.

Big Florida Brother Has Spoken – FP&L Customers will Comply or Pay Up!

In a show of support for the Florida Public Service Commission’s (FPSC) Staff Recommendations regarding Florida Power and Light’s (FP&L’s) petition for smart meter opt-out fees, Commissioner Brise stated “It helps the system as a whole by making sure there is a sufficient incentive that everyone can move in the direction of smart meters.” Ken Rubin of FP&L previously commented at the hearing that the fee needed to be around $100 (high enough) to create a “sufficient disincentive to opt out”.

The Commission never addressed the written comments from the public that dealt with health issues caused by the smart meters. Not one question was raised whether medical exemptions should be given for those falling ill from these devices or whether the American Disabilities Act required an exemption. They never addressed multi-family dwelling and property rights issues either. And God forbid any of the Commissioner’s ask a reasonable question as to whether there is a way to mitigate and lower these costs – such as customer self-reads. Nope, none were addressed although many public commenters made such recommendations to the Commission.

The Commission also did not address the specifics of a “non-communicating” meter. Although FP&L did state that if the customer managed to hold onto its analog meter they would be able to keep them for now. But those that didn’t and want to get rid of the smart meter will get a “non-communicating” meter of FP&L’s choice, even though the Commission was alerted through public comments that digital non-communicating meters were found to still cause health issues in states such as California and Nevada. These State’s Commissions eventually had to order that analogs be the replacement meter to alleviate public outcry. It is also not clear whether FP&L’s “non-communicating” meters contain the computer and storage to collect interval usage data that customers with privacy issues object to. But I guess we all know by now that our Fourth Amendment rights are gone (NSA scandals) and who cares about the “takings” clause in the Constitution.

The Commission never addressed communication issues for this new tariff either. FP&L does not plan to let all it’s customers know about this option. They only plan to alert via letter those 24,000 customers who are formally on their “postpone” list. The other 12,000 customers who refused access to their premises or barricaded their meters will be “automatically enrolled” and charged the fee. They will have 45 days after being charged to comply (let FP&L onto their property and install the smart meter) or the charges will stand. If they comply, they will reverse the charges.

What about the other 4.464 million customers? They will receive no notification of this option – unless you readers tell them. The least they know the better! Industry surveys show that most people don’t even know they have a smart meter or what it is. The same applies to FP&L’s customers based on my research.

Although almost 40,000 have rejected the smart meter, the costs are based on only 12,000 electing to enroll in the new tariff. They believe the fees will be high enough to make 24,000 comrades see the right way and comply. By using a lower figure it makes the costs higher and ensures everyone “moves in the direction of smart meters.” If you used the correct number (36,000 +), then the upfront fee on a real cost basis would be about a third or about $30. At that level than more people could afford to keep the meter off their homes and that would be inconsistent with FP&L and FPSC’s goal of moving everyone onto a smart meter.

I know there has been conditioning done on the public to believe that extra costs will be incurred and those opting out should pay that cost. But to those I ask, where is the fee to be put on budget billing? That non-standard billing service cost money to develop and money to run and there is NO fee to elect this service.  We all paid for it. The Commission failed to address how that non-standard service is different. A service everyone is paying for but only a few receive a benefit.

“Cost causers” in the Commission’s world is very different than you may think. The one-time fee includes a $77 field visit charge. FP&L assumes they will need to make a field visit at least once to the expected 12,000 enrollees in this program. The Commissioners spent a lot of time making sure if a customer had an analog meter and enrolled in the smart meter opt out program and FP&L had to go out there 4-5 times over the 3-5 yr. period that the customer be only charged once. But if FP&L never had to go out it was okay to charge the customer for a field visit that they would never have. It was perfectly logical to spread the costs to all the opt-outers and not to charge the individual “cost causer” for multiple visits.

Equally important, they all agreed that if after the initial enrollment period a customer bought a home with an analog and wanted a smart meter then FP&L would roll that truck and install a smart meter for free. But if a customer bought a house with an analog and wanted to keep it, they would need to enroll and pay the $95 fee even though FP&L didn’t need to roll a truck and the service visit included in the enrollment fee would not occur. Oh brave new world!

So if you are on the “postpone” list expect a letter telling you to enroll. You will be charged a $95 one-time fee and $13/month for the pleasure of not having a smart meter. These charges per FP&L will start around May 2014. Protests to the Order must be filed within 21 days.

Not happy with the Commission ruling and want to protest it?

Contact CHASM at smartmeterradiation@gmail.com . Visit their site here http://microwavechasm.org/

Florida Public Service Commission to take up Smart Meters January 7, 2014

According to Marilynne Martin from Venice, FL, “The Florida Public Service Commission staff has posted its recommendation to the Commission regarding Florida Power & Light’s (FP&L) request to charge for an opt out. In a nutshell, they are recommending the charge be reduced as follows: One Time Fee – FP&L requested $105, Staff Recommends $95; Monthly Fee – FP&L requested $16/month, Staff recommends $13/month.”

“The recommendation does not address the type of meter you will get. FP&L’s tariff just says ‘non-communicating’ meter. This causes two problems. For those objecting for privacy reasons, they can put a digital meter on your home that contains a computer that collects data but does not transmit such data wirelessly to FP&L,” notes Martin.

For those that are getting sick from the meters, it was found in California and Nevada that the digital non communicating meters continued to make people sick. They fought and won the right for an analog meter.

Martin states, “Staff’s report indicates that as of the writing of their report only 35 residents filed objections to the tariff. There are 4.5 million FP&L customers. No serious opposition on record so I fully expect the Commission to approve the staff recommendation and charges will most likely start to occur April 2014.”

The Commission will meet on this docket on January 7, 2014. All Docket Info can be found here http://www.floridapsc.com/dockets/cms/docketFilings3.aspx?docket=130223.

Martin provided the following talking points for those concerned about Smart Meters in Florida:

  • If you are a FP&L customer and don’t have a smart meter, please note that in your comments up front.
  • Not only should this petition be suspended but it should be put on hold pending full evidentiary public hearings on smart meters from a cost, health, privacy and security perspective. In light of the recent NSA scandals and also all the Federal Government concerns and potential mandates on cyber-security for the grid, as well as the fact that FP&L’s own estimates from the recent rate case do not show savings to the ratepayer, it is time to re-evaluate.
  • Opt Out’s alleviate some concerns but not all. What happens to the multi-family dwellings? How does someone with 10-100 meters behind their wall “opt out”? You can’t. What happens to the residents that are getting sick from their neighbors meters or the associated equipment outside their unit on the poles?
  • What exactly is a “non-standard” meter? Those opting out want to retain their analog meters and do not want a non-communicating meter (digital). (This is important as California found that the digital meters were still making people sick because of the dirty electricity it produced on their home electrical lines.)
  • Those opting out should not have to pay a fee to protect their health and privacy. The smart meters cost approx. 5 times more than the analog and their estimated useful life is half. They require more equipment (routers, repeaters, IT maintenance, security, software, telecom fees, etc.) than analogs. The cost is far greater. Weather events will cost more as there is now additional sensitive communication equipment that can be damaged and will need replacement
  • As FP&L admitted in Docket # 130160, smart meters stop communicating. FP&L needs a method to get the meter reads in for the smart meters that don’t work properly. FP&L could use the same programs to get the manual meter reads in for the opt outs. They don’t need to write separate programs.
  • Monthly manual meter reads are not required for those opting out. FP&L could do one of two things. Either do estimated billing based on history or have the customer submit their own meter reading. Once a year FP&L should be coming out to all customers (regardless of which meter they have) to inspect their equipment on our property to make sure it is in good working order. They could do a meter read at that time to verify that the customer was doing proper readings. In addition, customers could also submit digital photos of their meter to support their readings. No need for monthly charges.
  • There is PLENTY of precedent of services be performed for “some” customers and not “all” and no fee is charged. Examples, 1) spanish translations of materials, customers service, 2) brail bills, 3) TDDY services for the deaf, 4) home energy audit.

EDITORS NOTE: For those interested in the installation of smart meters on their homes in Florida may contact the Public Service Commissioners directly. Very important that you put “Comments for Docket # 130223” in the Subject line. Public Service Commission e-mail addresses are as follows:

Commissioner Eduardo E. Balbis: Commissioner.Balbis@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Julie Imanuel Brown: Commissioner.Brown@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Ronald A. Brise: Chairman.Brise@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar: Commissioner.Edgar@psc.state.fl.us

Commissioner Art Graham: Commissioner.Graham@psc.state.fl.us

Office of Commission Clerk: clerk@psc.state.fl.us

Obama’s War on America’s Energy Needs

The Obama administration’s relentless war on the nation’s coal industry and on the electrical power generation plants that depend upon it is one aspect of his war on America that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. There is literally no basis, no justification for it, and yet the mainstream media tends to take little notice or supports it.

coal as energyIt is far more than a “war on coal”. It is a war on the nation’s capacity to meet its ever expanding energy needs. You can’t build a power generation plant overnight. You can’t get the enormous amount of electrical energy the nation needs from wind and solar power. Even nuclear energy, touted as “clean” because it produces no carbon emissions, has not seen any surge in new plants in decades.

As a Washington Times editorial noted on November 20, the regulations being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “have forced more than 100 coal plants to shut down and have made it all but impossible to construct new coal-fired plants despite rising energy demand…Since coal-fired plants generate nearly half of all the electricity used in the U.S., the EPA regulations add significantly to other upward pressures on electricity rates across the country.”

Two days later, CNS News reported that “The price of electricity hit a record for the month of October, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That made October the eleventh straight month when the average price of electricity hit or matched the record level for that month.”

“Americans now pay 42% more for electricity than they did a decade ago.”

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a report in 2013 that stated that 204 coal powered plants would shut down over the next three to five years. That represents the loss of 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity. The law of supply and demand says that when there is less and the demand is more, the price goes up.

The closures are spread over twenty-five states. People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina will see the most closures. Not only will the cost of electricity go up, but jobs will be lost. Less energy. Less employment. Less reason to build a new manufacturing facility in these states.

An article from the current edition of EnergyBiz Magazine points out that “As recently as 2008, coal-fired power plants accounted for more than 50 percent of our nation’s electricity supply. Coal and other hydrocarbons such as oil and natural gas have supported our standard of living and provided us with a substantial and sustained competitive advantage in the world economy.”

“The war on hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and natural gas) is fought on many fronts, but they tend to converge at the most basic of our critical energy infrastructure, the electric power plant. People assume that even though we use more electronic gear we are not increasing power demand. The opposite is true.”

The most identifiable culprit in this assault on the nation’s energy needs is the EPA. The Washington Times noted that its officials “have stalled for two years on providing Congress and the American people with the scientific evidence—peer-reviewed studies, analytical papers, and databases—that would justify regulations targeting the coal industry.” When you are intent on destroying a critical element of the nation’s infrastructure, the last thing you want to do is produce any verifiable evidence, particularly when there is none.

As the Times noted, “There are solid reasons for being suspicious of the EPA’s claims about peer reviews and public comment periods. Peer reviews mean little when everybody involved is funded by an administration conducting a ‘war on coal.’ And public comment periods are all but useless when conducted away from areas of the country most affected by the agency’s regulators.” No public sessions were held in major coal states like West Virginia or Kentucky.

This isn’t just devious. It is borderline criminal as a deliberate act of deception perpetrated on all Americans. It is economic warfare. It is a war against America’ energy needs.

The justification for the EPA regulations is the claim that coal-fired plants emit too much carbon dioxide which, in turn, contributes to global warming. But there is NO global warming. And hasn’t been since the Earth entered a natural cooling cycle about fifteen or more years ago.

The Institute for Energy Research succinctly says the “EPA’s proposed rule (to increase limits on CO2 emissions) will have essentially no positive impact on the environment. If the U.S. as a whole stopped emitting all carbon dioxide emissions today, the impact on projected global temperature rise would be a mere reduction, of approximately 0.08 degrees Centigrade by the year 2050 and 0,17 Centigrade by the year 2100.” And, of course, coal-fired plants in China, India and other nations continue to email CO2, a gas that is vital to all life on Earth as “food” for all the vegetation on Earth.

We are looking at a travesty being imposed on the nation, one that has a larger percentage of proven reserves of coal than Saudi Arabia has of world proven reserves of oil. Obama’s 2008 pledge to bankrupt the coal companies is coming true and, in the process, denying Americans the energy they need and expect while needlessly driving up the cost of what they are using today and tomorrow.

Congress has to shake off its partisanship and lethargy, and save the nation from Obama’s EPA and an Interior Department resisting the granting of leases to find new sources of energy.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Fraud Florida style: nuclear plant shutdowns, smart meters and “secret” settlements

Robert Trigaux, Tampa Bay Times business columnist, in his August 1st column titled, “Thank you, Tallahassee, for making us pay so much for nothing” wrote, “Hey, elected clowns! Thanks for passing a law forcing Duke Energy customers to pay up to $1.5 billion in higher rates for a long proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County that will not be built. And no, Florida customers, you’re not getting any of that money back.”

“With the Levy project canceled, and the broken Crystal River plant now permanently closed, Duke appears to be exiting the nuclear power business in Florida. At least for the foreseeable future,” notes Trigaux.

Trigaux stated, “Too bad we can’t shut down Florida legislators just as easily. Especially those lawmakers who conjured up the 2006 law letting power companies charge advance fees to ratepayers for high-priced and, yes, even ill-considered nuclear power projects.” In May the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission held an open house to discuss the closing of the Crystal River nuclear power plant owned by Duke Power.

Thomas Saporito stated in a press release, “Duke Power has apparently decided NOT to restart the failed Crystal River nuclear plant. The decision comes after billions of dollars in losses and many failed attempts to repair the troubled nuclear plant after a hole was cut in the containment building about 3-years ago to replace failed steam generators. Perhaps this is a warning signal for the entire nuclear industry about the hazards of operating nuclear reactors well-beyond the end of their 40-year safety-design basis?”

Another issue facing Floridians is the installation of “smart meters” on homes and business by Florida Power & Light (FPL).  Florida Supreme Court Case SC 13-144 against FPL and the Florida Public Service Commission concerning smart meters has been filed and is scheduled for oral arguments. The lawsuit states:

“FPL customers are now placed in a position by order of the Commission – to pay for smart meters which cannot operate as alleged by FPL. Therefore, FPL’s claims of cost savings for its customers are patently false and not true. Notably, it is not realistic to believe that FPL customers would be willing to expense the cost of replacing their existing appliances with smart appliances in these dire economic times.

To the extent that there appears to be fraud on the part of FPL related to cost recovery for smart meters from customers of FPL, the undersigned requests that: (1) the Commission authorize and otherwise order an investigation of FPL related to smart meters and associated cost recovery; (2) the Office of Inspector General for the Commission conduct an investigation of FPL and/or the Commission – related to smart meters and associated cost recovery as authorized by the Commission; and (3) the Commission convene a public hearing to create a record for which the Commission can rely and consider to Order FPL to refund all smart meter associated costs back to the customers.”

A third lawsuit was filed Attorney Jack L. McRay – representing the AARP – who filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to remand the decision by the Florida Public Service Commission (Commission) to approval a “secret” settlement agreement between Florida Power & Light (FPL) and three other parties related to FPL’s March 2012 petition filed with the Commission to raise electric rates for some 4.1 million customers.

Thomas Saporito in a press release stated, “The Florida Public Service Commission has reopened Docket No. 120015-EI in the Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) rate case to consider a motion filed by citizen Intervenor Thomas Saporito to reconsider its Order granting FPL exclusive authority to “self-regulate” and increase electric rates at will over the next several years.”

According to Saporito, “The citizens of Florida can no longer have any trust or confidence in the Commission to act as their advocate in establishing fair and reasonable electric rates. The Commission’s decision to allow FPL to ‘self-regulate’ puts the Commission’s integrity in the toilet”

Depending on the Commission’s decision on the Saporito motion – the case could be headed for review by the Florida Supreme Court. Saporito is also considering filing with other federal agencies and possibly filing a civil action against the Commission for violating his “due-process” rights in this matter.

It appears Florida’s power companies are in a meltdown mode.

RELATED COLUMNS:

What FPL’s President Thinks About Nukes, Renewables

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Florida Supreme Court asked to review FPL rate hike

Utilities to Address ‘Significant Weaknesses’ in Cybersecurity

AARP files brief in the Florida Supreme Court challenging the Florida Public Service Commission

Attorney Jack L. McRay – representing the AARP – has filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court asking the Court to remand the recent decision by the Florida Public Service Commission (Commission) to approval a “secret” settlement agreement between Florida Power & Light (FPL) and three other parties related to FPL’s March 2012 petition filed with the Commission to raise electric rates for some 4.1 million customers.

McRay argues that AARP is a nonprofit organization with a membership that helps people 50+ years of age – have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. McRay argues that utility costs comprise a substantial portion of their housing expenses – that the burden can be severe – that even people who own their homes outright may pay over half their limited income for housing – due in large part to the high cost of utilities. Inability to pay utilities ranks as the second most common cause for eviction after inability to pay rent.

AARP is appealing to the Court to ensure that the Commission follows the law in setting residential utility rates that are fair, just, and reasonable. The Commission approved a non-unanimous settlement in the FPL case – contrary to Florida law – because it failed to make findings based upon competent, substantial evidence on the record as a whole to address the objections raised by OPC – representing the interests of residential ratepayers. Moreover, the Commission approval of the settlement includes new matters that should not be included in the rate case because no public notice of them was provided as required.

Global Climate Report Warns of Food Shortages and Social Upheaval

The inaugural edition of the recently published Global Climate Status Report (GCSR)© by the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC), headquartered in Orlando, Florida, discloses startling new information about global food shortages and widespread social upheaval that is just around the corner; all the cause of the new global cooling era.

This single source document from the SSRC details an apolitical, fact-based version of the Earth’s climate status as measured by twenty four climate parameters. The summary conclusion of the report shows that the planet is heading into four decades of potentially dangerous, cold weather.

Mr. John L. Casey, SSRC founder, Editor of the GCSR, and author of the internationally acclaimed climate book, “Cold Sun” was recently named “America’s best climate prediction expert” by Watchdogwire.com.

He elaborates on the conclusions of the GCSR by saying, “The news isn’t good, especially for those who still believe in man-made global warming and that mankind’s CO2 emissions have a major role in climate change. They will be totally unprepared for this new cold era. Though we had issued a press release in February to announce the climate report, the specific findings from the full report and their implications for everyone on the planet are still largely unreported by the media and unknown to our leaders. It is certainly still surprising that what is likely one of the most important news stories for the next fifty years is completely ignored by the mainstream media, including most science periodicals.

Casey states, “For these reasons, I want to be very clear about what this report is saying. Here in the United States, we face the real prospect of major crop damage and food shortages as we get closer to the bottom of the next cold era estimated to be 2031. We should fully expect to see substantial crop losses during the 2020’s along with accompanying food riots, and social unrest, especially in every major US city. That means we may have seven years, and likely less, to set aside the food we will need or make adjustments to our national food production and consumption practices in order to get through the global cooling onslaught with minimal damage.”

“This situation will be made worse because the current administration of President Obama has its head in the sand on this global threat and unbelievably is still telling the world that the Earth is warming because of man’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions,” notes Casey, “Nothing could be further from the truth according to the overwhelming evidence that climatologists and solar physicists around the world have compiled and is discussed in our global climate report for all to read.”

Click here to download the 3-Page PDF Version of the report.

Click here to download the Executive Summary of the Global Climate Status Report.