Friday, March 11, 2011

Washington Electric: Renewable Energy at Any Cost

Washington Electric Coop recently announced a 23.8% rate increase.  The reason for the increase stated in WEC's annual report was that the renewable energy certificates (REC's) it was selling in conjunction with electricity generated at WEC's Coventry landfill generating facility were not yielding the price projected when the plant was conceived.  Renewable energy certificates were designed to be purchased by individuals and companies as credit toward their renewable energy requirement.  Washington Electric gambled that REC's would continue to be marketable at prices that would be equal to or greater than original projections.  The market for REC's has fallen significantly and now WEC must find the means to replace that lost revenue.  The result is its pending application for a huge rate increase.  WEC's board of trustees is now looking to households and businesses to pay dramatically higher rates to make up for its bad investment decision.

WEC has for years eschewed the use of inexpensive, reliable, and clean power from Vermont Yankee and instead has opted for more costly sources keeping rates high for its customers.  The Coventry REC debacle is an example.  The Public Service Board is conducting an investigation into this rate increase and will hold a public hearing on March 15 at 7:00 at the Old Brick Church in E. Montpelier.  I hope the public will be there in force to demand that the rate increase be reversed.  WEC should seek lowest cost sources of power for its customers.   

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