Drinking the Kool-Aid of ElectriCities and Liking it?

Wow. Rochelle, writer for Wilson Times, sure did drink the ElectriCities cult kool aid with her story about how great things are with the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency - November 2007.
Rochelle wrote: "Part of the budget, $10.9 million, goes toward NCEMPA power agency services, including $5.2 million in personnel costs for 100 employees, Tilton said."

How vague is this?? Let's see the CEO makes $500,000 and the secretaries make $50,000 .. yes, I guess that pans out in this magical math.

"Personnel costs will increase by $256,166, partly because of 3.8 percent in merit increases, some dollars for retention and $92,751 for three new employees. NCEMPA plans to hire an energy auditor, retail development specialist and a part-time human resource worker."

Let's see, they say 3.8% but then give certain CEOs and senior staff 15-20% increases so that means someone is not getting the average. More smoke and mirrors. Let's check back and see what they really hire and how much they pay. Rochelle- did you think of asking for the salaries and the adjustments made last year? Or was the kool aid so tasty, it made you forget how to do any decent reporting?

"NCEMPA originally planned a 2 percent decrease in its wholesale rate in 2010 but those plans have since been abandoned due to increased operational costs."

I guess so - with a CEO making $500,000, I guess you do have "increased operational costs." You could probably hire Donald Trump for less money.

"The cost of electricity in Wilson and the amount customers pay is connected to the city's participation with NCEMPA. NCEMPA is one of two municipal power agencies of ElectriCities, which represents more than 90 members in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia."

The elected officials in Wilson drank gallons of the kool aid because the rates could go down if the operational costs go down, duh.

"Being a part of NCEMPA has provided the city with power for decades and also locked it into a long-term loan agreement, which extends to 2026."

Well now that is the first time I have heard BILLIONS of dollars of debt called a "loan agreement."

"NCEMPA's debt is $2.67 billion, of which Wilson's portion is $413.3 million. Wilson electric customers pay 37 percent of their electric bill toward that long-term debt."

Rochelle - let's get some perspective - 37% of my bill goes toward debt and what percentage goes to paying for the CEO Jesse Tilton's salary disguised in the operational cost increase. Listen up Wilson, you are paying his salary - what has he done for you lately? and for that matter, the rest of the overpaid staff.


Wilson Electric Customer

I have received some of the information in the mail and read some of the blogs and accounts of this place. It, like the lottery, was born out of some kind of corrupt deal that no one remembers the details of now. It has never made sense to most people. But I looked back at the story and I do wonder what the Wilson Times is thinking when they are told 37% of your bill goes to debt repayment and then almost in the same breath, no rate decrease this year, we have operational costs increasing. It is past high time someone in this state figured out what is going on with this secret deal-making. Where are the elected leaders on this issue? I asked a legislator and he said he did not even understand how it all worked - how's that for leadership? I guess it never occurred to him to figure it out. Looks like the public will have to figure it out. But if a place is implementing salaries like these when the economy is cooling and people in Wilson are barely making it, the elected officials need to step up and ask some questions and give their residents some answers. "Government for and by the people" seems to be a phrase many are forgetting. I have no confidence in local leadership. In the absence of lack of local leadership, someone at the state level needs to step up.

My answer is regulation by the NCUC of city water, wastewater and electric. Then, there will be an entity that is reqiured to "figure" it all out. Some may say this takes away power from the local officials and I say so be it, in the absence of leadership, we need to move on and find some.

Rocky Mount Electric Customer

I also signed up and got the email information and read some of the information about this place. I am retired and live in Rocky Mount where I was born and raised. I have been trying to figure out the electric costs because they seem fairly out of control After reading about the creation and where we are today, I would like to know the percentages in my electric bill. If the population of the east is paying 37% in a bill for a debt from 1971 and then there are increasing operational costs, I would really like to know how much the actual electricity costs - my guess is low since it is primarily nuclear. Looks to me like the operational costs are driving up our bills.

I hope the consumer group that helps customers of the large utilities will be of some assistance in this matter since it appears cities are not being straight with their residents because ElectriCities is not being straight with them. Carolina Utility Customers Association should be the force to assist us with documents and information.

I also agree with the comment about regulation since there is a public staff that evaluates the impact to the public and advocates for the public which the cities are not doing and ElectriCities is most certainly not doing.

Welcome, John

I hope 2008 will be a watershed year in our ongoing struggles with Big Energy - and bringing ElectriCities into line as public stewards should be at the top of North Carolina's "to do" list.

Hope you stick around and share more of your thoughts.