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‘Unconscionable’ electric rate hike

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By Friday, Nov 21, 2014 Letters 6

To the Editor:

You get your electric bill yet? Notice the ridiculous, unconscionable 37 percent rate hike?!? I bet you did! We can’t take that lying down. Come to the Mass Revolt Facebook page, like it, then Tweet at our local reps, Smitty and Ben Downing (@repsmitty & @BenjaminDowning) or email Smitty Pignatelli and Benjamin Downing and ask what they are going to do. Likewise with Richie Neal and our U.S. Senators, too. DO something!

John Grogan


6 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Evan S. says:

    Community Solar has an alternative. We provide power from our solar farms at a price lower than the national grid without installing anything on your house or property. For more information, email me at evanseitz7@gmail.com.

  2. GMHeller says:

    True blue Berkshire Democrats who voted for Barack Hussein Obama these past two Presidential election cycles should not now complain about increases in the price they pay for electricity because this is exactly what Obama promised in his campaigns, specifically that the cost of electricity would have to go up as part of Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s power generation system from coal to so-called ‘green’ energy.
    Obama’s U.S. E.P.A. regulations are all about penalizing power companies for operating what heretofore had been low-cost coal-fired generating facilities and replacing those with higher-priced ‘green’ alternatives.
    The power companies have no legal or economic alternative but to pass forward all of the increased costs onto ratepayers.
    Did Berkshire Democrats think that such increase in electricity rates would somehow not apply to Berkshire County?
    Elections have real-life consequences and now that Berkshire residents are actually footing the bill for Obama’s draconian regulations, Berkshire Democrats should now be cheering, not complaining.

    1. B L Pretty says:

      Could you please be more specific on your claims as to how recent EPA regulatory changes could have increased the need to raise power prices by 35%? Power producers are switching to low cost Natural Gas for their marginal and, increasingly, base-load power generation needs. A ‘green’ revolution driven purely by free market economics. This is what has been displacing coal as a power source. It just happens to coincide with tighter regulation on coal fired plants, but the EPA regulatory changes have been on the margin and will remain so unless a Greenhouse Gas tax is imposed on utility producers (which it hasn’t to date – there are simply reporting mandates). There has been a massive swing to Natural Gas nationally driven by fuel source economics alone. There is little regulatory element in this.. It is a phenomenon driven purely by historically low gas prices. So we have coal prices being driven down by competition from Natural Gas, lower Natural Gas prices and thus overall, a fuel pool that is decreasing quite significantly in cost. So where is this massive price hike coming from when the power company major operating cost, namely fuel cost, is going down? I have yet to read the reasoning for the massive National Grid power price increase and will endeavor to educate myself more specifically on this particular issue, but it is not credible that it could be attributed to anything the EPA has or hasn’t done recently. I am, for your reference, an industrial energy expert and have been evaluating both industrial plant and utility energy economics for well over 20 years.

    2. B L Pretty says:

      I have followed this up briefly and it’s immediately clear what is going on. Again, it is market economics driving prices. Nothing environmental. Actually, that isn’t 100% true. There have been barriers placed in the path of utility companies, or more exactly those moving Natural Gas fuel around the country via pipelines, wanting to prevent pipeline construction. So we find this part of the country in a supply constrained situation due to lack of pipeline capacity. Lack of planning on the utilities part? Perhaps. But at some point we all have to pick between less than perfect options. Coal with all it’s nasty side effects (mercury, other heavy metals, SOx etc.) and GHG implications, or Natural Gas that gives you an immediate 50% reduction in CO2 emissions without the other harmful pollutants. I’d choose a pipeline any day and then challenge the distributors to implement safely, in an environmentally benign way. These are a lot less offensive than a new road running across the landscape for sure. Solar and wind are on the horizon of becoming game changers, but only on the margin and and not in time to stave off these sorts of capacity constraints.

      1. Mary Douglas says:

        With regard to green regulations for power plants, there is nothing final and effective now. The GHG reduction reg has not been finalized and the mercury/toxics regulation was accepted by the Supreme Court for review. Natural gas combustion indeed produces about 50% of the CO2 of coal combustion, but, because of methane leaks and releases, natural gas GHG releases are comparable to those of coal-burning over the production-to-burning life-cycle. ( Methane is 20 times as potent a GHG as CO2 over a hundred-year period.) ISO-NE, NESCOE, and Kinder Morgan very much want a new natural gas pipeline. K-M would realize a 10-14% annual return on its investment as a regulated monopoly for the life of the pipeline — 100-years or more. However, there is plenty of time to put together alternatives, such as a mix of renewables, demand reduction, energy efficiency, market adjustments, and, in peak-use winter conditions, Liquid Natural Gas as needed. Even if a pipeline were to proceed, it would not be in operation until early 2020. All it would take is political will and public support. However, those who favor a more expedient “fast food” solution such as a pipeline (rather than the “healthy-meal” mix of alternatives) are pressuring the state with electric rate hikes, claiming lack of pipeline capacity before there have even been any wintertime problems — just to keep the screws on and to scare the public into pipeline support.

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