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By Devin Hartman, John Hughes, Owen Kean, & Caitlin Marquis

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Washington Examiner (Opinion): Electricity Customers Want Competition


The Washington Examiner published this opinion piece from a group of authors representing the perspective of electricity buyers large and small, including the Advanced Energy Buyers Group that AEE coordinates. Excerpts below: President Trump recently announced that the Energy Department is reconsidering funneling emergency aid to unprofitable power plants in response to a request from a bankrupt company. But experts agree that no grid emergency exists, and that such action would cost consumers billions and destroy market competition. Indeed, subsidizing troubled companies would constitute an extreme measure at consumers’ expense. It’s about time consumer voices took control of the grid narrative. The leader of the bailout push is FirstEnergy Solutions, a company that recently declared bankruptcy because some of its coal and nuclear plants are not competitive in today’s market. The company asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to declare a grid emergency under Section 202 of the Federal Power Act to keep plants online to “ serve the public interest.” Yet such action would be a clear abuse of statutory authority. The Energy Department’s own technical report in 2017 found that the bulk power system is performing reliably. Clearly, “serving the public interest” actually means letting markets run their course. If the plants were necessary for grid reliability and resilience, then customers would share FirstEnergy’s concern. Instead, electricity users are deeply distressed by the immediate costs they could face, as well as the long-term damage to the market, due to the proposed intervention... ...This is not an issue of coal and nuclear versus renewables and natural gas; this is about customers versus rent-seekers, good versus bad governance, and markets versus destructive government intervention.
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Topics: AEE In The News