Sep
13
2018

Gambling on the Mirage of Customer Choice

With summer diversions in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the mid-term elections. Down the ballot from attention-grabbing federal and statewide races sit some key ballot initiatives. Nevada’s Question 3, if approved, would amend the state’s constitution to enshrine deregulation – also known as restructuring, competition, or customer choice – of the state’s electricity market. What’s behind this attempt to make lasting energy policy decisions at the ballot box?

Voters generally respond enthusiastically to the idea of CHOICE in any arena. But in Nevada, famed for casinos and deserts, many are starting to see that Question 3

Aug
30
2018

Teaching Future Consumers Energy ABCs

This week’s guest blog is by Mark Justice, Director of Education and Community Relations at Cobb EMC. Mark provides leadership for member education, public relations, and public and media information. Cobb EMC, a not-for-profit electric cooperative, serves a large, diverse population in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. Their efforts to educate students and schools about energy are making a difference and are worth duplicating across the country.

Each school year brings opportunities to help young people learn about the energy sector. Students, elementary to college, are interested in electricity and related energy topics. What could be better than to have them

Aug
23
2018

Summer Heat = Increased Need for Energy Assistance

 

During hot summer months when many households rely on air conditioning to stay cool, energy suppliers across the Southeast are prepared to help low-income customers in need of assistance coping with energy bills. This summer, it’s been really hot across America. As part of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition’s August LIHEAP action month campaign, we’re spotlighting the Southeast region’s growing need for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP is a federally-funded block grant program, heralding from the early days of the Reagan Administration. Grants are made to states, tribes and territories to

Aug
16
2018

100 Percent Renewable? Not Yet Doable

Last night, Energy Fairness joined a community event in Georgetown, Texas, asking whether the city is really powered by 100 percent renewable electricity? Over 100 citizens turned out for a 90-minute panel discussion and robust Q & A session, convened by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and also featuring:

Honorable Charles McConnell, Executive Director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative. Bill Peacock, Vice President of Research at Texas Public Policy Foundation. Kevin Roberts, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Georgetown is a charming city north of Austin with a diverse population, thriving businesses and a

Aug
02
2018

The Long Shadow of Negative Pricing

 

Top Takeaways:

Renewable energy plays a valuable role in the nation’s generation mix. But when renewable energy flows into the wholesale market at prices below zero, the generation mix is distorted over the long haul. There really is no such thing as “free electricity.”

Like many people, I love free stuff. Tote bags and coffee go-cups top my list of free energy conference swag. So, I can understand why renewable energy enthusiasts enjoy discussing “negative pricing” and the benefits for consumers’ electricity bills. Some trumpet “free electricity” in a manner that calls to mind cell phone advertising.

However,

Jul
11
2018

Hedging 101, Part 2

This week, we continue our conversation with hedging expert Andy Whitesitt. Over two decades, and as a senior executive with ACES, he’s helped dozens of utilities smooth cost curves and mitigate risk. Hedging helps consumers across the country every day.

What’s the difference between financial hedging and physical hedging?

Financial hedging is locking in only the price risk by utilizing either a futures contract or a swap. After locking in the price, the utility still must go out and procure the natural gas needed to run the generation unit.

Physical hedging is a purchase of physical gas to be

Jul
04
2018

Freedom from Worry

Recently, Energy Fairness asked Andy Whitesitt, Vice President of Business Development & Customer Service at ACES, to talk with us about hedging basics.

We hope the following Q & A interview will help you understand how utility hedging programs work to remove some worry about future costs. Next week, we’ll follow up with some additional insights about this common business practice many utilities routinely deploy to protect consumers.

Can you provide a 101 explanation of hedging?

Hedging is simply locking in the price of a commodity in order to reduce the risks of potential impacts. When electric utilities use

Jun
27
2018

Energy Debates Help Summer Heat Up

Energy Fairness is on the road again, enjoying 110 degree highs in Phoenix. Back in D.C., energy debates are heating up the Beltway atmosphere, but we also found some bright spots to share.

The Senate is working on appropriations bills, but partisan divides mean that many “riders” aimed at rolling back rules and programs set in motion by the Obama Administration aren’t viable this year. For example, language that would halt the unpopular and sweeping “Waters of the U.S.” rule won’t be included.

With Energy Fairness now formally a part of the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC)

Jun
14
2018

Hedging Happens Every Day

Everyone needs to manage risk. We do it in our daily lives both personally and professionally. Utilities are no different. PACE has spent the last few weeks highlighting natural gas hedging after the Missouri legislature passed a resolution supporting the continued use of this essential, though often misunderstood practice.

Today’s infographic explains the top five benefits of natural gas hedging, from protecting consumers to supporting national security. We hope you will find this graphic useful as you think about all the ways you manage risk every day. #HowDoYouHedge?

Jun
12
2018

A Sea of Change in Charleston

It’s 90 degrees in the shade here in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC) has gathered for its annual meeting. Eleven states’ public utility regulators, from Texas and Arkansas to Florida and the Carolinas, are represented. This year’s theme is “Effective Utility Regulation – All in the Public Interest.” In a time of increasing cynicism about government, it’s uplifting to focus on elected officials and professional staff who work hard for consumers each day.

It’s also refreshing to be with so many who accept that appropriate regulation is needed to monitor and provide course