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
25
2018

A Record-Setting Summer in Texas

Many eyes are on Texas this summer. Some are watching the Houston Astros to see if a repeat of the 2017 season is possible; currently they are leading the American League West by 6 games and occupy the number 2 spot in USA Today’s Power Rankings. I cannot report similar good news for the Atlanta Braves, although hope springs eternal.

However, those lucky enough to have a professional or avocational (yes, that is a word) connection to the energy industry are collecting a different set of stats by following the state’s roller coaster of summer peak temperatures and power prices.

Jun
07
2018

Walking a Few Feet in Poverty

Since the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy joined the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition earlier this year, I’ve searched for ways to get smarter about home energy assistance and to deepen the Energy Fairness commitment to consumers. In late May, I attended a “poverty simulation.” Regular readers of the Energy Fairness newsletter know I eschew hyperbole, but here, the description “truly meaningful” fits the experience, a sentiment shared by many other participants.

This is the second time Entergy, the investor-owned electric utility serving New Orleans, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas has partnered with Catholic Charities to

May
22
2018

A Tale of Two States - Deregulation in Texas

Last month, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP) released an update to its regular report on Texas’ deregulated power market. TCAP is a not-for-profit that helps aggregate electricity purchases for dozens of cities in Texas, and so has a vested interest in monitoring the state’s complicated and ever-changing electricity markets. TCAP’s analysis can help you decide whether the Texas deregulation “miracle” is a tall tale.

I became a TCAP fan last summer after identifying them as one of the nation’s few organizations able to discuss “capacity markets” in plain English.

Since Texas is so frequently held up as an

Jan
31
2018

Florida Energy Consumers Win

Common sense prevailed earlier this month at a brief, but important meeting of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). Under extraordinary pressure, five members of the General Provisions Committee did the right thing and rejected a measure that sought to force drastic changes to the state’s electricity landscape on a rigid timeline. Under “Proposal 51,” Florida’s consumers would have been pushed down a path of uncertainty, experimentation and higher costs.

Since electricity deregulation special interests could revive their push for energy choice, it’s critical to understand why consumers won. The clever, but misleading banners of energy choice and energy freedom mask

Jan
11
2018

PACE Continues Florida Engagement on Deregulation

On Friday, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will once again examine deregulation of the wholesale and retail electricity markets. PACE will testify, as we did in December, to share our views and research on why deregulation doesn’t work for consumers.

Dear Chair Thurlow-Lippisch:

Thank you for reconvening the General Provisions Committee on January 12 for a portion of the morning to further discuss Proposal 51. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy will appear again in order to shed light on why Florida should not enshrine complex electricity policy in its Constitution and explain why the Texas electricity market isn’t

Dec
07
2017

Energy Retail Deregulation Wrong Fit for Florida

This week, PACE was on the road in Tallahassee, visiting with several members of the Florida legislature and learning about energy issues likely to arise in the 2018 session. As always, it was enjoyable to be outside the D.C. beltway, with warmer temperatures and fresh Gulf seafood all around.

Snow is rare in Tallahassee, but consumers need to be wary of the potential for a snow-job. Outside interests are setting up camp here to push for electric retail deregulation. Their primary vehicle so far is Prop 51, recently introduced and the likely subject of ongoing deliberations by the state’s Constitutional

Nov
28
2017

The Disaster of Deregulation

Earlier this year, PACE shared some thoughts about deregulation of the electric power retail markets and why it doesn’t make sense for consumers. With state legislatures across the country gearing up for 2018 sessions, it seems timely to touch on the topic again. When it comes to deregulating (or restructuring) retail electricity markets, the song remains the same. Nearly two decades of experimentation, creation of complicated behemoth markets and establishment of cumbersome oversight mechanisms has rarely, if ever, produced meaningful cost savings or competition.

Pushed by giant casinos and renewable advocates, Nevada’s Public Service Commission has recently created a new