The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.


The wind and the sun may be free, but Trump’s energy regulators want you to pay the same price – or more – for clean energy than what we pay for electricity from our country’s aging, dirty coal-fired power plants.

The Republican-dominated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave states and utilities just 60 days to weigh in on how to do this in nation’s largest wholesale electricity market serving 65 million customers in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

“We’ve never seen this kind of federal intrusion in the energy industries,” said energy consultant Rob Gramlich.

The proposed changes could cost consumers billions of dollars more. One estimate for a narrower proposal said it could cost utility users $14 billion to $24.6 billion roughly over the next 10 years. That’s between $216 to $379 for each of the 65 million people served.

Action Box/What You Can Do About It

Call the Republican members of FERC who voted for the plan that will help coal companies, Kevin McIntyre, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, at 202-502-8000 or write at 888 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20426.

Contact the Natural Resources Defense Council at 212-727-2700 or

Fossil fuel’s share of how much energy we consume in the U.S. was the lowest last year that it’s been since 1902 when whale oil was still being used. States such as Maryland and New Jersey require utilities to generate some electricity from renewable sources like wind, and states including Illinois and New York subsidize nuclear power.

The regulators plan to expand the minimum price rules in electricity auctions for PJM which serves all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. This higher base price would help make coal-fired power plants more competitive at a time when some coal companies are filing for bankruptcy.

Clean energy could help wholesale energy prices drop by 25% or more, but coal moguls such as Robert E. Murray and Joseph Craft, who donated a million dollars to Trump’s inauguration, want Trump to shaft consumers and keep polluting coal fires burning.

Trump has appointed four regulators, Democrat Richard Glick, and three Republicans, Kevin McIntyre, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson. Those Republicans voted for a plan that would in effect have taxpayers paying twice for clean energy, once for state subsidies and a second time at auctions to guarantee that power is available at times of peak demand.

These “capacity markets” were set up to try to ensure that enough electricity is available, but a 2018 GAO report found at least some of these markets may not work well enough.

Glick, who voted against the proposal, said that the commission “fails to recognize the cost of stymying state efforts to address environmental externalities, such as climate change.” Democrat Cheryl LaFleur also voted against the proposal.

Miles Farmer, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council, said the proposal could ultimately also help clean energy because it would allow utilities to opt out of auctions to buy backup power for times of peak demand and instead line up their own power, including wind and solar energy.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

#EndorseThis: Lindell Loses It When CNN Says His 'Proof' Is 'Completely Ridiculous'
#EndorseThis: Lindell Loses It When CNN Says His 'Proof' Is 'Completely Ridiculous'

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is now claiming that some financial institutions no longer want to do business with him because he poses a "reputation risk" as he continues to push former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

On Friday, January 14, Lindell appeared on Steve Bannon's podcast "War Room" where he claimed "Heartland Financial and Minnesota Bank and Trust are attempting to 'de-bank' him over concerns that they could face fallout related to having him as a client," Newsweek reports. During the broadcast, the two right-wing enthusiasts played an audio recording of what they claim was a discussion between Lindell and a banking official.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump’s Catastrophic Boast About Coronavirus
Trump’s Catastrophic Boast About Coronavirus

Arizona Republican State Representative Jake Hoffman made news this week when it was revealed he signed a forged “certification” falsely stating Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, won his state’s Electoral College electors.

Video that’s gone viral of Hoffman shows him defending signing the forged documents in which he falsely identifies himself as a duly elected elector for Trump.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}