May
08
2018

TVA Generation Mix: Celebrating Wins for Consumers

This past weekend, the Chattanooga Times Free-Press published an article updating readers on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s multi-year program to transition its generation mix. Nearly a decade ago, in 2011, a lawsuit by environmental groups led to a settlement agreement. TVA has lived up to the agreement by taking sweeping actions to reduce emissions while providing affordable and reliable power to a growing population.

To be sure, TVA looks different today than it did in 2011. Over the past seven years, the utility has shut down 33 coal units and updated other coal units to reduce emissions. It has also

May
03
2018

Georgia: Doing its Part for Nuclear, Solar & National Security - While Keeping Rates Low

This week, PACE is pleased to feature a guest blog by Dr. David Gattie, a faculty member at the University of Georgia with deep expertise in energy policy, and co-author of our 2017 paper on net metering.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released new data for 2017, so I compiled a few statistics for some of the top GDPs in the U.S. In particular, average residential rates since 1990 (Figure 1) and the energy portfolios for those states (Figure 2). Since my home state is Georgia and we’re working toward the completion of the only nuclear reactors under

May
01
2018

Looking at EVs through Tortoise-Shell Glasses

Aesop’s sayings are still with us today because they contain solid grains of truth. From where PACE sits, consumers will win in the race to electrify transportation if we take it slow and steady, like the tortoise. A recent report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance, (SEPA) bolstered my impression that’s the way the race is unfolding and should continue.

To be honest, I also may be influenced by a long weekend visit to California, where I rarely removed my tortoise-shell sunglasses and over 4 days not one of many Uber drivers appeared in an EV.

A key benefit of

Apr
25
2018

Community Solar for All

PACE supports “all of the above” energy policies, even though the phrase itself has fallen out of fashion in some circles. All of the above, in case we haven’t always been clear, includes renewable energy.

One of the most important renewable sources is community solar. The price is right, compared to many other forms of renewable energy. And there’s something intangible too, that may not appear on a spreadsheet. Somehow, people respond to seeing panels in a small, approachable array while on their way to the grocery store or the local school.

Owing to our interest in community solar, we

Apr
24
2018

A Rising Tide of Questions About Deregulation

As a long-time and loyal UGA fan, I don’t usually make tide references. But the image occurred to me after reading up on some state developments concerning deregulated electricity markets. State leaders and citizens are increasingly asking questions about whether or not deregulation is all it’s cracked up to be, and most importantly, how it affects consumers. The boldest statements have come in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where last month, Attorney General Maura Healey released a report condemning the state’s competitive retail electricity market. While the report was influenced by a $5 million settlement against one company charged with deceptive

Apr
20
2018

Springtime in D.C. - Cold, Sunny, Chance of Hearings and Orders

PACE got a taste of warm weather, sunshine and BBQ last week, visiting with Cobb EMC, a progressive urban/suburban electric cooperative just outside Atlanta that serves over 200,000 meters. Cobb’s board and leadership team are responding adeptly to consumer demand for renewable energy by making significant investments in utility-scale solar. PACE also visited the Southern States Energy Board (we joined SSEB earlier this year) to discuss energy and environmental issues that are top-of mind to the elected officials in SSEB’s sixteen state, two territory membership.

Returning to D.C., I found that with Easter recess in the rearview mirror, the springtime

Apr
18
2018

Fired up to Do Good with LIHEAP

PACE is always seeking new avenues and alliances that will strengthen our ongoing mission of highlighting consumers’ interests in reliable and affordable energy. We’ve made a lot of new friends this past year. However, we are particularly excited about a new relationship with the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC). PACE officially joined NEUAC last week and is looking forward to diving in on various committees and learning from the expert leaders and volunteers who created NEUAC to strengthen efforts to help energy consumers in need.

As a short introduction, NEUAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that “brings together

Apr
10
2018

Views from a Visit with APGA

Last week, I was honored to be invited to address the American Public Gas Association’s annual marketing conference. Millions of consumers across the country receive natural gas service from community-owned distribution utilities.

Over 150 attendees spent three days examining trends affecting how customers view and use natural gas in their homes, businesses and vehicles. Spending a day with APGA gave me a great opportunity to spread the word about the Partnership’s mission and to re-learn some lessons about how natural gas distribution utilities view the energy policy landscape. I say “re-learn” because I spent two happy years representing APGA at

Apr
04
2018

Hedging Protects More than Just Energy

Brian Munzlinger is a member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 18. He recently introduced a resolution, which is advancing in the Missouri Senate, to educate consumers and fellow lawmakers about the benefits of allowing utilities to hedge fuel inputs. His April 2 op-ed in the Hannibal Courier-Post appears below as a PACE guest blog.

Brian Munzlinger: Hedging Protects More than Just Energy – Opinion – Hannibal Courier – Post – Hannibal, MO.

http://www.hannibal.net/opinion/20180401/brian-munzlinger-hedging-protects-more-than-just-energy

Just like for any good or service that depends on commodities, power prices are linked to the costs of generation fuels. For years now,

Mar
23
2018

Kentucky Net Metering Horserace Helps Consumers

Most states have considered net metering and established some policies that compensate private solar owners for electrons generated from owned or leased panels on rooftops or ground-mounted systems. PACE took a close look at the state of the states’ approaches last year in our report, “Net Metering: Costs, Customers and a Smarter Way Forward.”

Our central point in that report still rings true today – there is no policy justification for paying private solar generators more than the fair market value for electrons they send into the grid. Just as for any service or business dependent on commodity inputs, wholesale