"Eversource balks at state law ordering it to buy wood power" - Granite Grok

“Eversource balks at state law ordering it to buy wood power”

“The battle over biomass is far from over. Eversource now says it will not purchase power from the state’s wood-burning power plants despite a state law requiring such purchases, unless it is ordered to do so by the Public Utilities Commission. The decision by the state’s largest utility, revealed in a Dec. 4 filing with the PUC, comes after a year-long debate in the state legislature over the so-called biomass bill, SB 365.”

Actually, they should sue their butts off and not abide by the PUC. NH Constitution:

[Art.] 12-a. [Power to Take Property Limited.] No part of a person’s property shall be taken by eminent domain and transferred, directly or indirectly, to another person if the taking is for the purpose of private development or other private use of the property.

Good for Eversource for telling them the State to go pound sand.  And the NH GOP is complicit in this “taking of the freedom of Eversource to choose who their sources should be and is also a “taking” of the Private Property (their money) of the shareholders for a purpose that they otherwise would not use it for.  I hope they take it to the NH Supremes – or higher.

And once again, the NH GOP elected officials went contra their own Principles to do this.  Once again, I’ll quote their own NH GOP Platform (and why not, they don’t seem to care for it much):

We, the people of the New Hampshire Republican Party, do stand united in our dedication to preserving freedom, limited government and unlimited opportunity for all.

We believe, above all else, in the founding principle that all people are created equal, endowed by our Creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, unimpeded by intrusive government regulation and control.

We believe that the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions were written by our forefathers to limit our government, not our freedom.

We believe that individual liberty is guaranteed under the Constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire, that the liberty of the people must be protected above the power of the government, and that it is only through an adherence to our founding documents that we will continue to grow as a free, Constitutional Republic.

None of that is true because Eversource has had its freedom taken from it.  Not true as NH GOP elected officials went off the limited government reservation and overrode Gov. Sununu on this. Intrusive, indeed,as via both regulation and control of others’ Private Property to satisfy their own egos.  Certainly, it was a display of the power of the government over the liberties of others. This is an abject power grab by Republicans who acted as if a private entity was a mere outcropping of Government.  Literally, this is an example of the 1930s style Mussolini fascism that purportedly the NH GOP Party stands against.

 

“Eversource decided not to enter into any formal power purchase agreements under SB 365 in order to preserve its rights (under federal law) in the event that the legality of SB 365 is challenged,” according to the utility’s Dec. 4 petition to the PUC. The state’s largest utility is ignoring a directive of the state Legislature, at least for now, because the new state law puts it at odds with federal law, according to an Eversource spokesman.

“We are committed to providing our customers with the lowest rates possible while working within the bounds of state and federal law,” said William Hinkle.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding this legislation, Eversource has followed the requirements of SB 365 in a manner to protect the interests of all until a final decision is reached. As a regulated utility, we will comply with the operative decisions of FERC and the Public Utilities Commission.”

Again, they should take them to court and not comply.  Sure – they are a regulated utility but at what point does regulation become effectively ownership?  Owners get to make purchasing decisions that would be help their business from an economic and customer standpoint. Government made this strictly on rent-seeking / Crony Capitalism reasons.  And the irony is complete lost on them. Especially these three Principles:

We believe in free people, free markets and free enterprise.

We believe that economies flourish when all people retain as much of their hard earned income as possible, to spend and invest as they see fit.

We believe as the New Hampshire Constitution states, that acquiring, possessing and protecting property is a natural, essential and inherent right.

And this one is an utter #FAIL:

We, the people of the New Hampshire Republican Party, pledge to our neighbors across our great, beautiful and proud state, that we remain dedicated to maintaining a limited, affordable government, to lead with integrity, character and compassion, and to forever defend the freedom that has made the United States of America a beacon of hope for all people.

And you certainly caved into the special interests of a few and place the majority into subservience to those few (rate payers now stuck with the indirect tax of higher electricity rates mandated by a Republican government (at the time) that decided to follow the Democrats in the service of a profit making special interest:

That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of (special) interests…and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power intrusted to it by a confiding people…

That special interest was the biomass in the North Country and the associated forest industry led by the FORMER honorary chair of Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates for Free Marketplace principles, Tom “Axe the Tax” Thomson. Hey, Tom – go pound sand, eh?

Full Disclosure: both Steve and I have received national awards from AFP for both New Media and Free Market areas.

It is highly hypocritical to have used AFP when writ large and then drop those same Principles like a diseased dead tree trunk when it gets personal.  Now we know where you stand – those principles go out the window when it hit your own pocketbook.  All those statement about government being too big, too costly and let the market decided? You threw them into the swamp. You decided to NOT compete in the marketplace – you decided to play the Crony Capitalist and sought to rent-seek your way out of a non-profit jam.  I guess that while the Rewards were there, the marketplace was dandy but as soon as Adverse Risk showed up, you caved:

A representative of the forest industry said the uncertainty has been created by the opponents of the new law. “The people have spoken through the legislative process and they (Eversource) should follow it to the letter,” said Tom Thomson of the Thomson Family Tree Farm in Orford. “For Eversource to do anything but that makes them nothing but hypocrites.”

No, sir – YOU are the hypocrite for abandoning that which you formerly championed and stood for. You became a Crony Capitalist when it was profitable to do so.  You used your political contacts for self-gain and adversely affect the wallets of the rest of us.  You became a willing participant in Corporate Welfare – and you call US hypocrites? Sod, off, swampy!

And as far as that threat?

The son of former Gov. Meldrim Thomson has warned that his family and many others would have to starting selling house lots instead of growing trees if the wood-burning power plants close and foresters lose their market for low-grade wood.

Go ahead – put up thousands of homes.  But what are you gonna do, now that the housing market is cooling off, when you can’t sell them? Come back on your knees and beg Government to save your butt again?

He [Sununu] argued that forcing the utility to purchase wood power at higher-than-market prices foists those higher prices on electric ratepayers already burdened by some of the highest electricity costs in the nation. Eversource estimates that the cost of the biomass energy would be 3 to 4 cents per kwh higher than average wholesale rates in the New England region, given the lower price of natural gas during all but the coldest days of the year.

Thomson, and those he represents, don’t care if they make life more expensive for the rest of us – they’ll be “getting theirs” because they manipulated government for their own benefit.

“The Legislature found it to be in the public interest to promote the fuel diversity represented by these renewables as part of the state’s overall energy policy,” according to a recent letter from 10 prominent senators and state reps to FERC.  The group, led by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Gene Chandler, urges FERC to reject the petition by the New England Ratepayers Association.

Promote – yeah, politicalese.  No, what Jeb Bradley and Gene Chandler, and the other NH GOP elected officials DID was to DEMAND, to MANDATE a given behavior.  No different ethically than what Obama and the Democrats did with Obamacare. Both have relinquished their ties to any of the platform principles. And yet, the NH GOP tolerated (and continues to tolerate) this behavior.

Did the NH GOP care?  Did Jeanne Forrester, the NH GOP Chair at the time, put up much of a fight against this?

Nope.

And as far as the NH GOP is concerned?  Again, from their platform:

May God forever bless the United States

Yeah, I do pray that to be true because the NH GOP didn’t bless us at all.

 

Uncertainty created

Despite Sununu’s attempted veto, the state Attorney General is defending the law in the FERC proceeding.

Lawmakers respond

Supporters of the measure rallied for the forest industry, which needs a buyer for the byproduct of its harvest, and the biomass plants, which provide good jobs and renewable energy.

“The Legislature found it to be in the public interest to promote the fuel diversity represented by these renewables as part of the state’s overall energy policy,” according to a recent letter from 10 prominent senators and state reps to FERC.

“Promote” intimates choice – a voluntary action made by the individual.  The choice to say yes – or no.  The NH GOP elected politicians took it upon themselves to decide for all – and in doing so, reduce Freedom for all.

And I have to tip my here for calling it like it is:

The ratepayer group argues that SB 365 is preempted by federal law that prohibits states from setting wholesale rates for electricity. The lawyer appointed by the state to represent consumers in utility issues, Don Kreis, has also weighed in against the new law. He applauded the decision by Eversource.

“The Office of Consumer Advocate is pleased by Eversource’s efforts to preserve its customers’ financial rights under (federal law),” wrote Kreis in a FERC filing of his own on Monday.

“The statute’s preferential treatment of biomass and municipal waste facilities can hardly be viewed as promoting all forms of renewable energy, or fuel diversity or sound resource planning,” according to Kreis. “It is, quite simply, a mechanism to subsidize certain in-state (power plants) at the expense of Eversource customers.

So, tell me again, at least in this sordid mess, how the Republicans are different than the Democrats?

This affects me personally as I JUST switched my power provider to Eversource.  If this goes through, I will chose a different vendor.  At least the NH GOP didn’t take that away from me….yet.

(H/T: Union Leader)