The three part series of public rate hearings held by the Alabama Public Service Commission to review the ratemaking process for state’s largest electric utility culminated with an agreement that will save ratepayers money. The rate reduction, along with modifications to the ratemaking formula known as RSE were recommended by PSC staff and accepted by a majority vote of the commission at the PSC’s August 13th meeting.
At the first PSC meeting of 2013, JobKeeper Alliance held a press conference to express our concerns about a coordinated effort by several environmental groups and their allies seeking to create a “fire-storm about utility rates.” Their goal was to create a controversy that would lead to formal rate hearings, then hijack the closed-door venue and use it to advance their anti-coal agenda. We adamantly oppose this radical agenda because ending the use of coal in Alabama will raise energy costs, kill thousands of existing jobs, and hamper future economic development and job creation efforts.
We appreciate Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh and Commissioner Jeremy Oden for supporting inclusive and transparent public rate hearings and opposing the environmentalist’s demand for closed-door hearings. By welcoming all citizens and organizations to participate in the open public hearings, the environmentalist’s unpopular agenda was met with fierce opposition from dozens of pro-job groups, local leaders, and hard-working Alabamians.
We are, however, disappointed that Commissioner Terry Dunn voted against the rate reduction supported by Commissioners Cavanaugh and Oden. Commissioner Dunn’s vote against the plan has once again placed him on the side of the environmental groups and their ally AARP, who is publicly backing the environmentalist’s agenda in nearby states. With Commissioner Dunn’s base of supporters thinning, we are concerned that he will likely continue clinging to the company of those courting him.
We also fully expect that the environmental lobby will continue to push forward in their campaign to change Alabama’s energy policy. As a result, JobKeeper Alliance will continue to vigorously oppose efforts of those who threaten existing jobs and future job-creating economic growth.