Overshadowed by coal ash issue, debate continues over Duke Energy’s fixed charge

As a high-profile hearing over Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike in North Carolina logged its seventh day, an expert witness for anti-poverty and environmental groups said the utility’s own data prove it should lower – not raise – the flat monthly fee it levies on residential customers.

Alabama PSC’s Gift List: Power Company “Nice,” Alabamians “Naughty”?

Every year on the second Tuesday in December, the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) holds a public meeting about Alabama Power’s rate structure and the cost impacts of keeping coal-fired power plants burning. If this meeting represented the PSC’s holiday gifts, it’s easy to see who the favorite child is… and it isn’t the bill-paying [...]

Are industrial power customers favored too much?

Across the Southeast, industrial power customers get special perks. One reason is that they can afford to hire lawyers and experts to persist in asking for the most favorable treatment they can get. One example of this is the advance payment for Georgia Power Company’s Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion project. Georgia Power customers have already [...]

Solar MythBusters #1: Clouds blocking solar in the Sunshine State?

SACE staff member Charlie Coggeshall contributed to this post. This is the first in a series of blogs on solar myths; stay tuned for future MythBuster posts in the coming months! Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) Vice President Chip Merriam recently propagated one of the greatest myths about solar – often heard in our region – while speaking [...]

What Is a Watt, Really?

Clean Energy. We’re all for it. In fact we’re the Southern Alliance for it. But what is it? I’m not talking about the “clean” part. That one word deserves its own essay. I’m talking about the “energy” part. We all have some idea about what energy is. We all pay utility bills. What we’re paying [...]

How Cheap Is Coal?

Remember when coal was king? Just a few years ago the consensus was that coal was cheap and abundant and would remain that way for the foreseeable future. Today, though, coal prices are increasing and becoming more volatile. Perhaps more important to us here in the Valley, TVA’s existing fleet of coal plants will soon [...]

To Avoid Price Shocks, We Must Meet Energy Needs

This guest post, written by SACE consultant Susan Glickman, originally appeared in the Sunshine State News, 22-Aug-12. Read the post and view the comments here. The energy challenges of the 21st century demand new ways of doing things — namely, moving from the old paradigm of “selling energy” to one where we “meet energy needs” with [...]

How Not to Set Electricity Rates

Clare McGuire, former attorney for the Georgia Public Service commission and Georgia Watch, contributed to this post. Electricity rate setting is a hornet’s nest full of accounting, policy-making and politics. People love power companies when rates are low, and they sometimes even love them when rates are high. The thing that really riles electric customers [...]

VEC Utility Customers More Informed Than Most

Not all electricity bills are created equal, and today we’d like to commend a local utility company on providing their customers with an exceptionally detailed one. Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) provides information and advice beyond what the average national utility bill presents. Last November, John Wilson, SACE’s Research Director, shared with you a study about [...]

What your electric utility bill is NOT telling you

A fascinating new study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy takes a look at what’s on the bills that electric utilities send to their customers. OK, you have got to be an energy geek to appreciate this kind of insight, but here are two observations. ACEEE’s report, “The State of the Utility Bill,” [...]