NC PIRG and Utilities Watchdog Project

Since NC PIRG is the featured non profit and has a Utilities Watchdog Project, I would hope they would do some research on what is happening to eastern NC as a result of ElectriCities.

From NC PIRG's site, "1)The General Assembly created the Utilities Commission to limit utilities’ abilities to exploit customers. States where utilities are unregulated have been subject to extreme price hikes and energy crises. According to some research, residents in those states pay almost double what we pay."

How true. But while this is true, some customers in cities pay almost double what the fortunate people in Raleigh and Charlotte pay ... why because of ElectriCities. Ask customers in Kinston, LaGrange, Smithfield, Wilson, Scotland Neck, Rocky Mount, etc. ElectriCities is exploiting customers by increasing operational costs for salaries, perks, benefits, out of court settlements and then passing those costs to the power agencies, the cities and the customers. ElectriCities was helping cities "get" retail as part of the Parton Theatre development debacle as well. Encouraging investment in entities for "spill over" from the hoards of people expected at this taxpayer funded monstrocity.

Who is in charge of the oversight for ElectriCities?

The General Assembly created this debacle. But the Utilities Commission does not regulate them. The General Assembly does not regulate them. The State Auditor is not supposed to regulate them since their money is from our pockets and not the state coiffers. And certainly the local leaders with their Board of Directors who take money from the staff do not regulate the hand, I mean staff, that pays them. Well, feeds them too, since the stories of wildly expensive outings and restaurants is all over the state.

So, who regulates this entity. Will NC PIRG step up to the Challenge? Will CUCA? People in eastern NC are losing jobs, houses and are the first to feel the effects of recession but electric bills soar and excessive spending at ElectriCities continues which drives electric bills. And city councils, evidence Roanoke Rapids with Parton, do not have the time, skills or expertise to address this issue. And now ElectriCities wants to add a retail development specialist to the staff. Great. That will provide great, minimum wage jobs in eastern NC. There are two economic development people busy there snuggling up to the regional partnerships like the NE Commission (i.e. Parton debacle) giving them extra money to waste, and working with the very same players involved in the Parton issue. ElectriCities has paid some of the same players handsomely to produce "marketing plans" for cities. The marketing plans are IDENTICAL except the names change, except a couple of time, oops, the names weren't changed. Another travesty of wasted money. But the economic development team plays a lot of golf and spends a lot of money on Dept. of Commerce, so I guess that counts as "helping eastern NC."

Who will regulate? Who will investigate? Was that never contemplated in this mistake? Several legislators are looking at options but the corporate lawyers at Poyner and Spruill wove such a deal so as to deceive us all. Perhaps Roy Cooper will take this issue on? I guess a group of retired seniors will continue to provide the data and do the work for them until it blows up in their collective faces, perhaps just before election time.

Comments

Thanks for posing the questions, alman.

I'm not sure NC-PIRG is in a position to regulate, but it seems that someone sure has to.

Recommended.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

You are right - they cannot

You are right - they cannot regulate. But they can take on the issue of customer rights. The NCUC needs to regulate, if for no other reason than to assess the costs. Part of the operational costs increases that prevent rate reductions is due to office renovation, CEO bathroom renovation, out of court settlements. They all get charged to the power agency and then to the cities. It is unbelievable that people sit back, wonder about all of this but have no idea what to do. The whole cost scenario is absurd. I have come to the conclusion that the board is lazy and/or stupid and either way that spells to the fact they are not doing their job and should face stiff criticism at home.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run

I think what bothers me about all of this -

and I don't live in one of those cities - is that when customers are stuck with only one choice of provider, there should be better oversight. It doesn't matter which company, and whether or not it's public or private.

I know you've posted before - have any class action suits been brought?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Class Action Suits and New Findings

We have not filed a suit yet but we are consulting with a group of attorneys who are willing to help us pro bono so that is a good start. We would want to time it to the legislative session.

New information from Billg in Wilson who has posted before came to me. Several of the eastern commissioners for the eastern power agency informed him that the CEO and his strategic planner have purposefully colluded with at least two board members from western cities to buy interests in their landfills to meet the renewable portfolio standard. Three legislators went out of their way to tell me that the eastern cities could have been exempted for a period of time because of the financial hardship or there could have been a substitution for efficiency and this "strategic planner" who makes almost a quarter of a million dollars wanted the requirement on all cities and engaged in tactics to do so. So, now we have western board members cutting deals that help themselves at the expense of the people in the east.

I am happy they have jobs and job growth in the piedmont and west but the situation in the east is different and these folks should not be cutting deals on the side that hurt the people in the east. I guess some of the increased operational costs can be attributed to this dumb idea.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run

Scotland Neck Economic Development Thwarted by Electric Power

http://www.newsobserver.com/print/sunday/city_state/story/920317.html

Scotland Neck and the new mill owner now know what the rest of us know. You cannot do economic development and create jobs when ElectriCities is siphoning off profit to pay for big raises, an overpaid CEO and out of court settlements. The mill could open if several million dollars was used to cut electric costs in these small towns instead of lining the pockets of out-of-staters comes to town to profit off the backs of hard working eastern North Carolinians.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run

Thanks for that link.

I missed the story. Much appreciated.

Could you write a rolled-up story on the whole Electricities tangle so we can feature it at the top of our front page for awhile? Live links would be great.

You can get a primer here.

rolled up

This is as rolled up as it gets. It gets worse every day and March and April brought lobbying issues and a looming rate increase due to a bad refinance deal. It is long and complicated but hopefully people will at least skim it and be as outraged as we are. Just today, I spoke to someone in Wilson who understands this is is screwing the city as rates there soar.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run

Absolutely!

Thanks Anglico. Much appreciated. We are all very frustrated. We seem some progress but need momentum. I will review the primer. I am a retiree so bear with me as I am fairly good on these tools.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run

I wish I were a retiree!

Momentum takes a steady drumbeat. Let's go for it. Maybe start by writing the mother of all headlines to describe what's going on?

You can call me James.