Peach Pundit United Against SB 31

As we approach the floor vote on Senate Bill 31, we are starting to receive copies of e-mails from members of the Georgia House of Representatives. They are not only strikingly similar to each other, but to the same talking points that Georgia Power and their paid army of minions have used. This is as disappointing as it is unacceptable.

For lobbyists to post here using fake names from Southern Company IP addresses in order to obfuscate issues is expected. For our elected officials to respond to our concerns using GA Power prepared talking points, and telling those of us who have probably spent more time digging through the actual text of these bills that “this is a complex issue”, or worse, that all of the facts are not known, is arrogant, condescending, and rude.

No one here is arguing against the need for additional power generation. We understand this need, and support not only new plants, but new nuclear plants. To pretend that we are against the construction of these new reactors at Plant Votgle is disingenuous. We fully support their construction.

Our problems with this bill are simple, they are:

1) The methodology used to determine that the consumer “saves” money under this bill is based on faulty logic, and that the only way you can reach this conclusion is that if you assume the consumer has no opportunity cost on the funds they would pay to Georgia Power.(i.e., no interest they are currently paying to other creditors, nor interest income currently being received from their investments if they are debt free).

2) The bill grants Georgia Power the right to take approximately $1 Billion in advance profits before the plant generates a single kilowatt of electricity.

3) This bill circumvents some of the authority of the Georgia Public Service Commission, which is in place precisely so that “complex issues” can be decided by experts who understand them, and not in a political setting where complex issues can be obfuscated by sound bites of misdirection.

4) Large Commercial customers of Georgia Power are exempt from the rate increases under this bill. This truly emphasizes that our Republican leadership is no longer “pro-business”, but “pro-big business”. Individual consumers and small business will now be subsidizing the electric rates of the largest power users. The public didn’t appreciate this change under natural gas deregulation, and they will be equally unhappy when the “complex issue” is easily understood in higher rates to them, but not to the large companies with armies of lobbyists.

Many legislators are basing their support for the bill on a position paper written by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. We believe this conclusion to be flawed based on their omission of the opportunity cost mentioned above. Yet, SB 31 ignores the four conditions set by the GPPF on which they base their support:

1) Only Finance Costs should be included. This bill includes almost twice as much front loaded ROI, or “profit” in layman’s terms, as it does finance costs.

2) The Georgia PSC should be able to review and approve all finance costs. This bill adds a new category of “ROI” or profit that GA Power may charge years before it is earned, without the review of the PSC. And according to the PSC, “The bill removes the current flexibility to consider the circumstances of a particular case and mandates that the Commission use particular mechanisms even if the Commission finds that others might be more appropriate.”

3) The charges should be incorporated into the base rates of all customers. They are not. The largest customers will be exempt, and effectively subsidized by small businesses and individual consumers.

4) Annual Rate Increases should not exceed a reasonable, guaranteed rate.

Yes, Georgia Legislators, this is a complex issue. Yet when broken down into parts, it is fairly easy to understand. We understand the bill charges consumers today to save GA Power interest payments tomorrow. We understand that it takes money from consumers today so that Georgia Power can have profits that they have yet to earn. And we understand that not all consumers are equal under this bill, as the consumers who use the most power – and we’re sure not coincidentally, those also most likely to have lobbyists – are exempt from paying this tax like the rest of us.

This complex issue is easy to understand. Your vote will decide if you are on the side of consumers and small businesses, or if you are on the side of big businesses with powerful lobbyists. We can’t make it more simple than that.

Signed,
Erick Erickson, Macon
Clayton Wagar, Alpharetta
Icarus, Atlanta
Jason Pye, Covington
Chris Farris, Duluth
Buzz Brockway, Lawrenceville
Clint Murphy, Savannah
Andre Walker, College Park
Decaturguy, Decatur

John Konop, Canton
Ben Brandon, Rising Fawn
“Dark Knight Begins”, Lee County
Rick Day, Atlanta
Jon & Jenny Hodges
David McElroy “bowersville”, Lake Hartwell
Thomas Pruitt – Atlanta
Darrell Galloway, Hiram
Ronald Daniels, Rhine
Doug Deal, Macon
Skyler Akins, Rockmart
James ‘griftdrift’ Williams, Moultrie
Daniel N. Adams, Madison
Michael and Kellie Weeks, Gainesville
John Farster, Savannah
Jimmy Gilvin, Alpharetta
James G. Bryant, Rising Fawn
John N. Edmonson, Snellville
Lorie Mancuso, Atlanta
Brett Bittner, Smyrna
Trey O’Callaghan, Atlanta
Robbie Honerkamp, Tucker
Chappel Martin
Tiffany Dixon, Smyrna
LoyaltyIsMyHonor, Smyrna
Jenny Schumm, Lilburn
Peg Murray, Lawrenceville
Tommy Sandoval, Gainesville
Brent Winner – Hampton
Ritch McCutchen, Cordele
Tiffany Dixon, Smyrna
Bill West,. Atlanta
John Edmonson, Buford
Tyler Burgess, Ringgold

22 comments

  1. Romegaguy says:

    Even if it doesnt pass the legislature, we have too many idiots on the PSC that will allow it to happen

  2. DonnieChaffin says:

    I know a lot of you are passionate about this, but do you actually believe it’s going to make any significant difference either way? Maybe I’m just more cynical than you guys, but I believe Georgia Power’s going to get their money one way or the other and that the investors are going to get their 5% dividend no matter how this goes.

  3. bowersville says:

    Donnie, you are right and there will be a price to pay at the polls. Not nearly enough 5%ers exist to make a difference.

    Georgia is behind the national learning curve, when people find out they’ve been duped by the controlling party in favor of big business, guess what, mad SOBs vote out the incumbent party.

  4. Dash Riptide says:

    Suppose for a moment that this is an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, once the information gets in the Tubes it’s there forever. So when there’s a Florida-like revolt against the effects of SB 31 as passed, this stand will haunt those who voted in favor of the bill. They can’t claim ignorance, surprise or sincere mistake with Clark Howard and the blogosphere on the case, now can they? It’s one thing to be labeled as in the pocket of special interests in the abstract; it’s quite another to demonstrate without doubt that you suckle at the teat of Georgia Power at the expense of your constituents. There is no middle ground on this one. It’s either Georgia Power or the ratepayers – the ratepayers without lobbyists to get them excluded from the effects of SB 31, that is.

  5. DonnieChaffin says:

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. Let’s say you are able to kill SB 31 and Georgia Power has to deal with the PSC. And let’s say the PSC turns down their request to collect this $1.30/month or whatever it turns out to be. Do you think Georgia Power will run off into a corner somewhere licking its wounds and cut the dividend they pay to shareholders? Or will they cook the books (or perhaps not even need to cook the books), go back to the PSC with some justification for a rate increase (that looks strangely like $1.30 month) and get their money some other way.

  6. Bill Simon says:

    Here’s the thing, Donnie: Accountability. In the morass of the Legislature, it’s challenging to pin anything on a couple of individuals (but they will down the road).

    Had this been decided by the PSC, those members who would have voted for it would been more accountable for their actions.

    Thus the reason why Stan Wise and Doug Everett were for it. They didn’t want to be held accountable for actually having to vote for it. Because then they would have been nailed in their reelections.

    However, in their reelections, its going to be difficult for them to explain the sudden surge in monthly electric bills…so, as fate will have it, they will likely have to fight the result as though they did vote for it. Them voters ain’t that bright to figure out much difference between a Legislator and a PSC Commissioner when it comes to figuring out who is responsible for making their bills increase.

  7. I’m hurt for not being included as a signer of this. 🙁

    Press Release, Feb. 11 2009; Libertarians Oppose Bill That Makes Customers Pay For Georgia Power Risk
    Membership and Subscriber Notification, Feb. 25th 2009; IT’S TIME TO CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE! NOW!!

    Numerous rants on PP and FB.

    Daniel N. Adams
    Chairman
    Libertarian Party of Georgia

    (hmmm? was the reason due to my call for un-depreciating competing backed currency or my Paultard status? … must continue to work on my street cred…)

    Drift,

    I just finished reading Fool, by Christopher Moore, author of Lamb (maybe that will help).

  8. Icarus says:

    Daniel (and anyone else who feels left out),
    ,
    We made the decision to do this last evening at about 5;30. We only added signatures as people were able to read the text above and give us approval to add their name. There are quite a few of our regulars, including a few front pagers, who we know are against SB 31, but we have not yet been able to contact. We will not add someone’s name to something like the above without their express approval.

    Thanks for the support, and keep up the good work.

    Icarus

  9. ChathamPolitics says:

    Icarus,
    Check your FB email….I have sent you my express approval to add my name to the growing list. Thanks for the request.

    Now off to Charleston for some lunch.

  10. Icarus says:

    “Now off to Charleston for some lunch.”

    Can you figure out how to run some take out by Atlanta on your way home? I’m officially jealous.

  11. Jim Wallace says:

    I am on board against this bill. It seems from reading this that GA Power wants to take our taxpayer money and use it for useless ideas. We need to unite as many people against this as we can.

  12. John Konop says:

    DonnieChaffin

    You make a valid point. But that is why we must keep the pressure up if it is another bad deal. The reason we are in the shape we are in as a country is because we have been uninformed and sitting on our hands. It is time for people to take personal responsibility and let their voice be heard! Also we must stop letting both parties split us on gut issues while they pick our pockets.

  13. Kellie says:

    BobG
    Thanks for the link. I used it this morning (less than an hour ago) and have already received 5 responses. All are voting no.

  14. I just realized that the House Live Feed – unlike the Senate Live Feed – does NOT show the entire vote board.

    PLEASE someone be in the gallery. If you will take a pic on a camera phone of the board and get it to me, I will post as I’ve indicated.

    email me at [email protected] if you can do this and need my cell #.

  15. SB 31 represents irresponsible governance and will result in political casualties in the next election. Once there is a rate spike and consumers realize what has been done, you will see incumbents pay for their vote with their job.

    I would prefer it not come to that.

  16. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Feel free to add me to the list:

    LoyaltyIsMyHonor, sometimes known as Smyrna Whitetrash, Smyrna, Ga
    (Are you reading this Mr. Golick?)

  17. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Ronald, I think they’ll be safe next election, since the rate tax won’t kick in until after the election. And by 2012 people will have forgotten about this.

Comments are closed.