RBN Energy: Mexico's reforms aim to boost oil, gas sectors.
The Register-Guard out of western Oregon is reporting that the Eugene Water & Electric Board made a mistake when it signed a long-term contract to buy power from a wood-burning electricity plant. I'm shocked! Shocked!
Signing the contract “was a mistake,” Mital wrote. “Management has looked into legal off-ramps. None can be found. We are stuck with it. I’d like to think that I would have voted against it had I been on the board ... But that’s a bit of a cheap shot. It may have seemed like a good bet at the time.” It is the sharpest public criticism an EWEB official has leveled against the secret contract that EWEB signed in 2010 to buy the Seneca plant’s power for 15 years.
In his comments, Mital also praised The Register-Guard for trying to force EWEB to disclose the utility’s contract with Seneca. Both EWEB and Seneca have refused to reveal even a single page of the contract and have fought the newspaper for five years in court over the matter. Mital made his remarks in the form of comments that he added to an opinion piece he wrote in The Register-Guard about an electricity rate increase EWEB is proposing.
With the signed 2010 contract with EWEB in hand, Seneca proceeded to build the plant. The federal and state governments awarded Seneca an estimated $28.8 million in grants and other subsidies for the project, court records show. Seneca opened the plant — which it says cost $61 million — in 2011.
Mital is the latest but not the first critic of the Seneca/EWEB deal. Detractors assert that the Seneca deal has driven up EWEB’s electricity rates, and say that burning wood waste harms the environment by releasing greenhouse gases.EWEB says the contract is secret and can be withheld from the public under Oregon’s public records laws. It won’t disclose how much is it paying for the Seneca power. EWEB’s records show the plant is the second-largest source of power that EWEB buys, after power purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration. EWEB also generates power from facilities it owns, mostly dams.
The Boston Globe is reporting that the Massachusetts Attorney General sees no need for more gas pipelines. I'm shocked! Shocked.
Attorney General Maura Healey, who by law represents consumers in utility cases, said Wednesday that the state can meet its energy needs and lower costs without building new natural gas pipelines, citing a study that calls instead for improving energy efficiency and management.
The study was commissioned by Healey’s office, but financed by two national foundations that have contributed to environmental causes. In its report, the Boston consulting firm Analysis Group Inc. concluded that increasing energy efficiency and encouraging electricity users to scale back their use when demand and prices are high would keep the lights on and save consumers $146 million per year through 2030.
Savings from increasing the supply of natural gas — the main fuel used to generate electricity here — through expanded pipelines would save $133 million a year, the study estimated.
“This study demonstrates that we do not need increased gas capacity to meet electric reliability needs, and that electric ratepayers shouldn’t foot the bill for additional pipelines,” Healey said in a statement. “A much more cost-effective solution is to embrace energy efficiency and demand response programs that protect ratepayers and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”The attorney general apparently feels that the bar has been set: we only need enough electricity to keep the lights on; we don't need new jobs, new computer server farms, new start-ups, new manufacturing. We simply need to dial back our current use of electricity and increase rates on folks to make sure folks reduce their use of electricity. We only need enough electricity to keep the lights on.
We Won't Know What's In It Until We Pass It
The Wall Street Journal reports the story that we've been reporting for some years now -- rising rates pose challenge to ObamaCare.
Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs.
Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.
The result is that many people can’t avoid paying more for insurance in 2016 simply by shopping around—and those who try risk landing in a plan with fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.Most people signing up for ObamaCare now realize that it's high-cost catastrophic health insurance. With the high deductibles, most people who qualify for subsidies realize they can't afford the "free" health care.