DUKE POWER GRAB

[cross-posted on dailykos at and on my campaign blog]

We’ve been talking a lot about our US Senate campaign being a choice between politics as usual and speaking truth to power.

I was surprised and frankly shocked while reading Greensboro’s Yes Weekly article about State Senator Kay Hagan.

Kay points to Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) as an example of how “we do things right in Raleigh.” The legislation adopted by the state senate last year gives away the store to Duke Energy, one of the top contributors to Kay’s state senate campaigns .

You may not know about SB 3. And the problem is I don’t think you’re supposed to. The Raleigh News-Observer says SB 3 was “an insiders' deal from the get-go,” passed with “virtually nonexistent” public debate and no “serious financial analysis of its total impact on consumers.” http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/martinez/story/626147.html

SB 3 shifts the cost of building new power plants from industry to consumers. Duke will be allowed to bill consumers for the costs of building new power plants - before the plants produce even a single watt of electricity. Instead of borrowing money to build power plants, Duke Energy and Progress will charge you more on next month’s bill. This fundamentally changes the law and how the utilities do business in North Carolina.

Many are worried that this change will pave the way for the energy industry to build new, polluting coal-fired plants instead of pursuing cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

There are three things we need to survive – food, shelter and energy, whether it’s gas for our cars or electricity for our homes. The bottom line is, SB 3 pretty much guarantees that all of our electricity bills will go up… and up. Consumers take the risk while Duke Energy and Progress take the profits.

I know that some people may think I’m being too harsh on my primary opponent. But make no mistake about it – this is not personal. Kay Hagan appears to be a very nice person. The problem is she’s part and parcel of a broken political system where special interests write legislation to benefit themselves instead of the common good.

It’s the very reason I’m running for the United States Senate. After being in this race for almost six months I honestly can’t understand whether Kay Hagan is naïve or she just thinks the public is.

Our campaign is asking for some simple things – to have a clear clean and open debate about where we stand on the issues, to meet openly with voters so we can hear their concerns, and to openly divulge who is financing our campaigns.

To examine someone’s legislative record and how they finance their campaign should be fair game. Isn’t that what democracy is about?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Comments

Corporate tilt

This has been my main concern about Senator Hagan - and the entire NC Senate in general - over the past few years. I've read Kay's website and studied her record carefully. In many ways she's a good, forward thinking progressive. But in two important ways, she is part of a larger problem that is blurring the line between business and government ... with dire consequences.

I heard BJ Lawson talk recently (Republican candidate for the 4th Congressional district.) He was lamenting this blurring of lines and believes it is a prelude to corporate fascism. I think he's right, though by running as a Republican he's guaranteed to be part of the problem, too.

Kay's voting record is one that puts business interests ahead of citizen interests far too often.

____________________________________

“Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

how many votes does duke energy get?

As some of you know, my family recently installed 36 solar panels on our roof, and we are selling energy to Piedmont Electric. The state gave us a modest tax credit but we did not get to pass our cost to create our power generator on to our neighbors. Does any politician want to ask for the votes of people who have just been given someone else's electric bill? Wouldn't the voters want to know where in that bill there is something that helps consumers?

I am reminded of economist Paul Krugman's column about looking at every bill by the Bush Administration and asking, "Who does it benefit?" I don't want to look at every bill passed by Democrats that I want to support and have to ask that. The answer should always, ALWAYS be: it benefits the people.

YES Weekly on Hagan

Here's the YES Weekly story.

You made me visit DK for the first time in months.

{shudder} I got out of there as quickly as I could find my login and rec.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I'm not the only one that abstains from the Orange Satan?

It's an honor, Robert, to be in your company. :)

Thomas S. Brock
www.brocknet.net
http://blogs.brocknet.net/bloviations/

What have YOU done today to elect a Democrat?

Thomas

What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Tom

Good to see you on. We need to talk. Call me today, I don't have your number in my phone.
Marshall is doing ok but I have some ideas I want to discuss with you.
Buck

Buck, check your email

Thomas S. Brock
www.brocknet.net
http://blogs.brocknet.net/bloviations/

What have YOU done today to elect a Democrat?

Thomas

What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Just since Edwards dropped out.

I've had my fill.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Rec'd and left comment

Thanks for posting here too Jim.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

That's not being harsh, Jim.

I know that some people may think I’m being too harsh on my primary opponent. But make no mistake about it – this is not personal. Kay Hagan appears to be a very nice person. The problem is she’s part and parcel of a broken political system where special interests write legislation to benefit themselves instead of the common good.

If Kay honestly believes SB3 is something to be proud of, she either doesn't understand the ramifications of the bill, or she does and still thinks it's a good idea. Either one of those opinions represents a serious flaw in her judgment.

Here's (part of) the problem with allowing the baseloading provisions back in the mix: in the absence of the oversight provided by private lenders vetting/evaluating these mega projects, the economic viability of the project is no longer an issue. The lenders and the utilities now have a safety net-the ratepayers.

It doesn't matter if the plan/design is flawed, because the "exposure" for any mistakes has been transferred to the people. Not only is this unfair, it's not sound business.

In the absence of a proper risk factor, delays and cost overruns are inevitable. Delays will happen because bringing the new system online and generating revenue is not nearly as important when P&L's don't matter anyway. Cost overruns are inevitable because the contractor won't have to beg the lender for more money and explain why its needed.

It's bad business, and it's bad public policy. That's not a complex or easily debatable analysis, it's basic first-year business or econ stuff. Meaning, only a handful of Senators have a legitimate excuse for not knowing it. So how did SB3 pass as written?

Hagan's Support??

Can anyone explain to me why she would support such a bill? To my eye it looks as if this benefits no one except Duke power. Why should they be allowed to skirt the rules of fiscal conservatism the rest of us have to follow?

This looks like a question for Hagan Mr. Morgan

I too would like to hear her answer.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions