Saturday, March 30, 2024

Juicing profits ...

While dark money giving to tax exempt groups is legal, a number of utilities have faced criticism for it. Composite: The Guardian/Getty Images/Unsplash

Reading this Guardian piece about the power companies gouging us rubes hits home as CT residents are getting hosed big time by Eversource by paying ever-increasing rates based on little evidence said rates are justified outside the fact you gotta juice profits. Seems Michigan is leading the way to eliminating this scam, hopefully other states will soon follow as the kind of crap Eversource, in particular, is doing goes beyond the pale without question.

US power companies have made political donations of at least $215m to dark money groups in recent years, according to a new analysis of 25 for-profit utilities, amid growing concerns around how they wield influence.

Such secretive donations to barely regulated non-profit groups have helped utilities increase electricity prices, hinder solar schemes and helped elect sympathetic legislators in recent years.

While dark money giving to tax-exempt groups is legal, a number of utilities have faced criticism for it. In Arizona and Alabama, power companies faced blowback after they used dark money to aid the election of friendly regulators. In Michigan, regulators barred another company from using dark money entirely after it spent $43m on politics in just three years.

It gets better ...

In another instance of ethically questionable actions, Florida Power and Light (FPL) used dark money to interfere with ballot initiatives, and the elections of five politicians who in part aimed to tackle the high prices of electric bills and environmental and climate goals.

“We are captive payers. To be funding lobbying against clean energy and climate that customers actually want goes against the public interest,” said Jean Su, a senior attorney at environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.

Customers can also lose out.

This was a scenario in Arizona when, in 2014, power company Arizona Public Service gave $10.7m to dark money groups that donated to key regulatory commission races. The two Republican commissioners backed by the groups won. In 2017, they went on to support the power company’s request for a $95m-a-year increase in electric bills, which ultimately was passed down to customers.

It took a subpoena from a regulator to finally prove in 2019 that the company had been behind the political spending.

Regarding Eversource ...


Government Actions:

Government Action: BBB reports on known government actions involving business’ marketplace conduct:

Eversource 2021

The following describes a government action that has been resolved by either a settlement or a decision by a court or administrative agency. If the matter is being appealed, it will be noted below.

On 10/27/2021, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved an agreement between The State of Connecticut and Eversource. This accountability plan seeks to address State identified deficiencies in Eversource’s handling of their response to Tropical Storm Isaias, improve Connecticut governances within Eversource, and to stabilize electric distribution rates until at least January 2024 for Connecticut consumers.

Under the agreement, Eversource will return $65 million dollars back to the customers in the form of credits on the December 2021 and January 2022 bills. An additional $10 million dollars from Eversource will be directed to assist customers having difficulty paying their bills, while an already established $28.4 million will continue to appear as a credits on all customer bills. This existing credit showing on bills as “TS Isaias Performance Penalty” is the result of a prior PURA penalty that Eversource, under this new agreement, has promised not to appeal.

This above outlined agreement was for settlement purposes only and should not be considered as an admission of guilt or finding of violation of the law. For more details, please click here.

We won't talk about the unneeded upgrades of telephone towers and clear cutting trees in my town but this one review regarding this utility kinda says it all. 

Eleanor's not alone ...

Any questions?

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