Sierra Club Calls on Public Utility Commission: Don’t Raise Our Rates When Cheap, Simple Solutions Abound

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2012

 

Contact: Cyrus Reed, (512) 740-4086, cyrus.reed@sierraclub.org

Austin, TX – The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club submitted comments this week to the Public Utility Commission (PUC), telling the Commission to choose faster, easier, and more cost-effective options. The PUC has proposed to raise the maximum wholesale energy price on the market from $3,000 to $4,500 per megawatt hour beginning next summer in order to incentivize building new power plants in the state. An independent analysis by ERCOT found that raising the maximum energy bid to $4,500 could raise overall electricity prices by some $5 to $15 per month on the average homeowner’s bill.

“Rather than raising energy prices on all Texans this summer, the PUC should pass good rules to help reduce electricity demand to better meet our needs,” said Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Now is not the time to raise electricity prices on all Texans to bait utilities into building giant new coal plants. Instead, the PUC should implement proposed rules to raise energy efficiency goals and expand programs at our utilities, adopt a pilot project to reduce demand through demand response, and finally approve rules that would allow third-parties to operate onsite solar plants in Texas to help reduce summer peak demand.”

Reed noted that the Commission has proposed a rule to implement legislation that requires certain utilities in Texas to meet 30% of the growth in their electrical demand through energy efficiency programs, and that could potentially reduce demand substantially at peak times. However, the rule has very tough “cost caps” which certain utilities like El Paso Electric and Texas-New Mexico Power say are so low they cannot meet the goals required by the legislature.

“Let’s give the utilities the flexibility they need to meet their demand and energy savings goals for pennies on the dollar rather than raise prices at certain times by $1,500, raising everyone’s electricity bills,” said Reed. “Otherwise, this simply looks like a measure to promote building new power plants for the sake of building new power plants. That’s not the right solution for Texas.

A full set of our comments can be found at:

http://texas.sierraclub.org/press/newsreleases/20120517PUCrateComments.pdf

Advertisements

One response to “Sierra Club Calls on Public Utility Commission: Don’t Raise Our Rates When Cheap, Simple Solutions Abound

  1. Doesn’t raising rates also incentivize conservation?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s