Why is a “free-market” think tank defending a government-regulated monopoly?

Debbie Dooley and the Georgia Tea Party Patriots have been waging guerrilla warfare against Southern Company and Georgia Power of late, for which they have earned a few bylines and the ire of, among others, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation vice president Benita Dodd. It’s a popcorn moment for progressives, but it raises some questions about what GPPF may actually be about.

Energy company executives describe the Green Tea Coalition, of which the Georgia Tea Party is a part, as an “unholy alliance,” of the left and the right, Dooley has said in prior interviews. While progressive groups have been pushing for solar power on environmental grounds, the Tea Party is somewhat more concerned about market access to competitors and the influence companies like Georgia Power have on the regulatory process — an extension of the anti-Wall Street ethos that led to the formation of Tea Party groups in the first place.

Dooley backs and her group are debating the merits of HB 657, which would require power companies to buy more of their supply from a solar power company. It’s a kludgy sausage of legislation by any standard; it essentially creates a solar monopoly in Georgia to feed the grid power, done to protect the existing territorial monopolies of power providers. It neither changes Georgia’s lousy net metering rules nor ends the 1973 law that requires homeowners to own solar panels on their roofs instead of leasing them as has been done successfully in other states. But it nonetheless presents a challenge to the gas-coal-nuclear power generation monopoly as it stands today in Georgia.

One can argue about whether Dooley and her group have been orthodox conservatives, but they have certainly not been orthodox Republicans.

Enter Dodd, the number two staffer at GPPF, stage right, on Facebook. “I am going out on a limb and saying this: The Tea Party allying with environmental activists is a recipe for disaster,” she wrote Sunday night. “Green Tea Coalition? You are going to regret this alliance, Tea Party. You do not establish a coalition with a group that believes that government is the solution when you support limited government. This is going to bite you. Believe me: This is going to bite you.” Later, she added, ” Debbie Dooley is endangering the movement by aligning herself with those who will use the brand to destroy itself.”

This sent Dooley howling, and supporters on either side to shore up the bulwarks.

“Thank you Benita, for calling out Ms Dooley for her ill-conceived efforts,” wrote  William Henry Verner, vice president for external affairs at Georgia EMC. “Unfortunately, ego is apparently clouding her judgement, and her fundamental lack of knowledge of how electricity is delivered combined with an apparent lack of desire to learn about the numerous owner/operators of the critical infrastructure required for 24/7 service, does a disservice to those who have put some degree of faith in her leadership.”

I went back and forth with Verner after he cited unbylined articles in the Georgia EMC-published Georgia Magazine as evidence for his claims. Notably, he chose not to discuss what the actual change in Georgia EMC’s financial risk profile might be. I know darned well that a company the size of Georgia EMC has highly-trained risk managers who could crunch the figures and come up with a financial estimate, hideously complicated though this all be. If he had numbers and they were valuable, I assume he would have used them. Either they don’t actually have numbers — which calls their financial competence into question — or a debate on the financial merits would not reflect favorably on his position.

Now, we can have a long discussion about the merits of solar in Georgia, or the potentially-disruptive effects on the finances of power operators expecting a fixed return on invested capital, or whether it makes sense to empower a solar monopoly as a means to combat a conventional-power monopoly, or the fact that Verner couldn’t quite manage to say just what kind of financial hit Georgia EMC — or consumers — might take, were the bill to become law.

But I’m wondering why a Dodd, a GPPF executive at a free-market think tank, would be taking sides with a highly-regulated government monopoly — arguably the least free-market element of the economy in the whole state — over the Tea Party in the first place.

From the GPPF website: “We believe good public policy is based upon fact, an understanding of sound economic principles and the core principles of our free enterprise system – economic freedom, limited government, personal responsibility, individual initiative, respect for private property and the rule of law.”

But this monopoly power means that it is illegal for someone to effectively “buy” power from a solar array that they lease themselves, mounted on their own property. And it also means that consumers have little recourse if the monopoly power company raises rates, beyond the Public Service Commission’s power to manage the monopoly. Hear that again: the Public Service Commission. Elected officials. In political corruption-heavy Georgia. Setting rates “in the best interest of the public.”

It would be easy enough, were I nothing more than a left-wing conspiracy theorist, to chalk this up to the influence of the ALEC-connected, Koch Brothers-funded Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and their ilk on the GPPF. Defense of free markets stops when the checks stop clearing, perhaps.  The funding trail for GPPF is relatively opaque: if they disclose their donors, I don’t see it. I have no idea how much money they’re receiving from Southern Company, Georgia Power, Georgia EMC and others who stand to have a random element thrown into their revenue projections by the passage of this bill. The think-tank had about $660,000 in revenue in 2011, which was a huge leap over previous years, potentially related to the Citizens United ruling and changes about how donations work. Perhaps GPPF will publish a list of the people on their board of directors — it’s nowhere I can see on their website.

But I think this internecine pissing match might be more fundamental than that. The solar power fight raises Dooley’s profile. People are paying attention to her. The job of a think-tank these days is at least as much to get attention as it is to promulgate sound policy. And people are ignoring the GPPF and Dodd. That’s gotta rankle.

51 comments

  1. Harry says:

    You’re right, the power companies and other regulated monopolies are an extension of the government and fair game for Debbie Dooley. But you seem to think ALEC is a bad word. It’s not. They’ve proposed some good model legislation. Of course, you may not agree with all of that, but you can’t say the Koch brothers are that tight with the power companies. In fact, I could see where the Koch interest would be to promote biomass and other forms of green energy.

  2. Baker says:

    You kind of got at this, but the bottom line is that this will surely raise rates, and does nothing to empower the individual consumer. You can argue about the policy benefits of this, but to call it “free market” it is most definitely not. The PSC is just going to require monopolies to change their services a little bit.

    I am totally on board with conservatives getting on the green train…even paying more to do so…I just wish this were not Georgia’s opening gambit in this area.

    • Baker says:

      The real gist is this: Your title “Why is a “free-market” think tank defending a government-regulated monopoly?”

      Yeah, she’s not. She’s saying that Debbie is making a mistake in pushing policies with the Sierra Club. Nothing about Ga Power.

      • George Chidi says:

        I would argue that. If you’re free-market oriented, you argue for the free market. There’s no caveat I’m hearing from Dodd about the merits of opening up the market to new technologies. Perhaps I missed it. One would expect to at least hear the throat-clearing about the evils of regulation in the utility industry. But, no. That silence is complicity, in my view.

      • debbie0040 says:

        From the way I see it, some of the same people complaining about aligning with the Sierra Club did not have an issue when we aligned with Sierra Club to defeat TSPLOST.

        It seems that some use the old strategy of if you can’t discredit the message, go after the messenger.
        I am not just looking at solar, I am looking at biofuels as well.

        There are others that claim to be free market supporters that are defending a monopoly and oppose over turning the Territorial Rights Act.

        The monopolies have had their way in Georgia, for so long, they are lashing out and want to hold on to the monopoly system .Imagine Walmart being in a position to prevent a Target from moving in an area where Walmart already exists.

        Regulated utilities can now take money received from rate payers and contribute directly to elected officials because of a bill that passed in 2011 that over turned a 40 year ban on such contributions. I thought part of the stipulation of setting up the monopolies in 1973 was that GA Power agreed not to participate in such processes. Aren’t they in violation of that agreement?

        Great article George

        We are looking at changes to 657 that would absolutely open up the market.

        We spent all day yesterday meeting with farmers in South Georgia begging us to open up the market for solar.

        • debbie0040 says:

          All energy subsidies should stop- including the ones for ethanol, nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar,etc. All energy should compete in the free market on a level playing field and allow the market and consumers decide which energy is viable..

          • Baker says:

            “All energy subsidies should stop- including the ones for ethanol, nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar,etc. All energy should compete in the free market on a level playing field and allow the market and consumers decide which energy is viable..”

            +a million! From your mouth to G-d’s ears Debbie Dooley!

            For some non-Ga background on this stuff, here’s a good article from the WSJ:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324906304579036721930972500.html

            “Companies are increasingly choosing to generate their own power, rather than buying it from a utility, spurred by falling prices for solar panels and natural gas, and fears of outages.”

            Basically, the utilities are getting hammered from multiple sides. We’re entering a brave new world in the energy market. I think in the long run it will be beautiful, but it’s going to be messy and expensive.

        • Jason says:

          From the way I see it, some of the same people complaining about aligning with the Sierra Club did not have an issue when we aligned with Sierra Club to defeat TSPLOST.

          That’s because you were coming together to defeat a poorly conceived tax. Whatever their motives were, they helped reach the desired end. That doesn’t mean that there is a common bond with radical leftist environmental groups, particularly when it comes to push yet another regulatory mandate.

          Thanks, but no thanks.

  3. John Konop says:

    Debbie point is a fairly simple concept…….If you do not have alternatives to energy you really do not have a free market system. If you want lower energy prices we need competition with oil……

  4. Since the Green Tea Coalition was mentioned, here’s the Utility Customer Bill of Rights that we (the core organizing group of the GTC) came up with. Please note that there was no compromise in this document. These are the points we found we could agree on. Our organizing principles include that there must be consensus among all members of the core group to act on something or to say that the coalition favors X policy. I’ve got more to say on the article above, but I’ll post the document itself here first. I’d be interested to hear what parts of the document below various conservative / limited government / free market groups disagree with. 🙂

    ————————

    Utility Customer Bill of Rights

    The Green Tea Coalition strives to find common ground from across the political spectrum to educate and empower American consumers, advocate for 21st century energy policy, and unlock the full potential of America’s energy future. We believe that utility customers deserve freedom of choice and protection from undue financial risk.

    1. Right to Save Money on Utility Bills

    Utility Customers have the right to reduce their utility bills by investing in energy efficiency and renewable or alternative energy generation on public or private property without penalty or obstruction by the utility.

    2. Right to Accurate Information

    Accurate information is critical to customer ability to make decisions about electricity consumption. Utility customers have the right to know their true electricity costs based on time of usage and should be free from unnecessary expense resulting from inaccurate data. Rates should include all fees charged by the utility and all customer information collected by the utility should be kept private and secure.

    3. Freedom from Bearing all Financial RISK

    Utility customers have the right to pay for only those utility investments which are used and useful in the production, transmission, and service of power consumed by the customer, and should not bear undue risk that utility investors would otherwise bear.

    4. Freedom from Subsidizing Utility

    Utility customers have the right to not subsidize lobbying expenditures or political contributions made by the utility or utility representatives to any political campaign

    5. Right to Choice

    Utility customers have the right to choose the type of metering device installed on customer property with the understanding that fees may be charged in accordance with additional expense incurred by utility.

    • debbie0040 says:

      Great points David and Baker !!! David is correct about Green Tea Coalition. We aren’t about compromise. We are about finding areas of agreement. It is a team effort with Green Tea Coalition . It is not about one person or one group and it is not about solar. It is about energy choice and energy freedom.

      HB657 is being changed and I was told that before the last legislative session ended. Don’t want to create another monopoly. All of us are looking at changes to it so everyone will be happy with it before we agree to support it.

      One thing I cannot understand is considering Teddy Roosevelt’s environmental legacy, why did the GOP just sit back and allow the Democrat Party to come in and seize the mantle of environmental issues? Isn’t being good stewards of the resources God gave us, energy choice and energy freedom conservative issues? Haven’t conservatives always encouraged getting the government out of the way and allow innovation to take place in the free market?

      • Baker says:

        “why did the GOP just sit back and allow the Democrat Party to come in and seize the mantle of environmental issues? Isn’t being good stewards of the resources God gave us, energy choice and energy freedom conservative issues?”

        +a million again

        Many conservatives/ Republicans are blinded by opposition to global warming/ climate change reasoning behind it. They refuse to acknowledge all the other reasons why we should be aiming for a greener, non-oil-based energy market.

        • “Many conservatives/ Republicans are blinded by opposition to global warming/ climate change reasoning behind it.”

          Yep. You’ll notice that the Green Tea Coalition hasn’t (and most likely won’t / shouldn’t) take a position on global warming / climate change. 🙂

  5. Now… as to the article above. There’s a few points I’d like to make.

    1. The Green Tea Coalition hasn’t yet taken a position on HB 657. It’s something we’re all looking at closely. From my understanding there are some changes to the bill that have been or will be made that remove the part about creating a solar monopoly. If the bill creates a new monopoly (no matter what technology it is), I can’t support it. I don’t believe the answer to opening up the market to competition is creating another monopoly. We’ll see what the text of the bill looks like before we take a stance on it, and I’m sure we’ll be giving our input to Rep. Chapman as well.

    2. I can’t imagine that Benita would be against free markets. I think she’s simply opposed to the vehicle that some of us have chosen to get there. I know it’s very difficult for some people to believe that people who disagree on perhaps 90 to 95% of the various issues out there can possibly find common ground, but we have. See the Utility Customer Bill of Rights above. The Green Tea Coalition doesn’t take a stance on a number of subjects because they’re not areas we’ve been able to find agreement on. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t perhaps work cohesively together on the areas we do find agreement to try and effect change, does it? It’s a bit like thinking about my PSC campaign last year – I was endorsed by a number of people on both the left and the right. Does that change who I am or what I stood for? Absolutely not.

    3. The Green Tea Coalition hasn’t yet come to a consensus on a number of issues and how to address policy that would work towards the various goals set forth in our Utility Customer Bill of Rights. One of those is the Territorial Electric Service Act of 1973. We’ve had some discussions about it, but we only meet for a couple of hours every week, and some of this stuff isn’t just cut and dry. As well, we have to make sure we choose our words very carefully. It took quite a bit of time to figure out wording with the meanings we were aiming for that most anyone should be able to understand. Energy issues can be quite complex and we want to ensure we have the support of as many people as possible from Joe the Plumber to Bob the Builder to Bill Nye the Science Guy. 🙂

    I’ll stop there for now… hope everyone has a great Friday!

  6. Scott65 says:

    I would say Benita Dodd has good reason to oppose solar just as Virginia Galloway did…Koch/industry money. Its amazing how you can be “free market” till you’re not. Clean air and water, and a clean environment to raise children and leave for them when we’re gone should be a value we ALL have…it nonpartisan. Dont forget, a free markets goal is maxing out profit, not protecting the environment. Without regulation (by government) we would be in a far worse position. I have always admired Debbie for walking the walk not just talking the talk. People with whom you disagree on some things doesn’t make them evil. Work where you agree…its not a hard concept to embrace. The militarized partisanship in this country will destroy it if we dont stop looking at those we disagree with as an enemy which should be demonized. We also have to rise above the chatter and be able to say when you are wrong. Benita Dodd lacks anything close to that capacity unfortunately…it would interfere with her paycheck

  7. Tina Trent says:

    George, you can access the 990s of nonprofit foundations for free at a website called Guidestar (you must register). The GPPF 990 will not list the names of individual donors, but if you’re wondering who gave them money, those organizations’ 990s will have to list their donations, so work backwards that way. If you need help, Guidestar is good on questions.

    Regarding Green Tea Coalition: I have made several inquiries to Debby Dooley and David Staples asking very simple questions about their coalition. I want to know how many organizations and individuals are members and who is funding them. They are not responding. So I have no way of knowing if this is a coalition of just a few people claiming to represent many; a left-wing group with a handful of outspoken Tea Party activists claiming to be bipartisan; a journalists’ darling because of the cause (which seems to be a good one); astroturfing (they have a suspiciously impenetrable website), or a real organization.

    I would be happy to hear that they really do have members — I read their list of principles and it is admirable. And I don’t care if people make a living, as long as I know who’s bringing them to the dance, as it were. But I expect people on all sides of the political equation to be transparent about three things: their membership (who they claim, exactly how people end up on that list, and whether those people know it — a REAL problem with AFP in Florida); their finances (who’s getting paid what by whom); and their decision-making structure (who decides which bill or cause to support, and how).

    These are simple questions that any activist group should be happy to answer, and it only makes a movement stronger when they are transparent. Of course they need not provide detailed financials, but I want to know who is funding them and who is getting paid. Any legitimate nonprofit or activist organization would have no problem offering answers, especially if they’re trying to fundraise or claiming to speak for a broader constituency.

    The bill being supported here doesn’t seem to really address monopolies; it just creates another monopoly for one specific solar plant owner. So, who stands to gain from the bill’s passage? Is the owner of the solar plant involved somehow subsidizing this movement, whether or not the final bill preserves monopoly? Whose activism does he or she subsidize?

    George, you should be asking funding questions of everyone, not just people you disagree with. It’s like any marketplace — you can’t expect one side to be concealing its interests. I would like to support GTC’s platform, but I won’t until they perform the simple task of telling people who they are. With no real contact information and no responses to repeated queries, their credibility seems to exist solely in headlines by journalists who aren’t asking real questions because they like the cause.

    That’s a shame.

    • Scott65 says:

      I agree with those three things. To not disclose them would imply a somewhat sinister agenda. GTC as from what I have heard, is relatively new so I would probably attribute your problems getting more information to more organizational than opaque issues. I do wish they would address the leasing of solar panels rather than people having to buy them (that seems awfully protectionist)

    • George Chidi says:

      I pulled GPPF 990s from Guidestar, but they’re only up to 2011. That’s where the $660,000 figure comes from. Other 501(c)3’s do list their donors, but that’s not always required. I can do a full-blown bread crumb search for them, but right now I’m simply questioning why I should have to. I’m surprised that their board of directors isn’t public, beyond a couple of names.

      You’re right about the Green Tea Coalition as well, of course. The membership is similarly opaque, but the nature of the organizations appears to be very different so I didn’t consider it relevant. It is relevant, though. Things from outside appear very “Occupy” like, in that there’s a consensus rule at play: they back the things they can all agree on.

      You raise fair questions. I’ll follow up.

      • Tina Trent says:

        That’s a problem with the tax system — most large nonprofits will take as many filing extensions as possible to keep their information from public scrutiny as long as possible. So with extensions, it takes some time for information to be revealed. 2012 should be in soon. Feel free to contact me for more research suggestions.

        GPPF should certainly have its experts’ vitaes available online. They came on my radar because I disagree with some of their CATO/Right on Crime/Reason anti-policing, pro-offender, empty-the-prisons policies, wrapped up as “money saving” ventures. The politics on that one swing both left and right.

        There’s no such thing as a non-partisan think tank.

    • “Regarding Green Tea Coalition: I have made several inquiries to Debby Dooley and David Staples asking very simple questions about their coalition.”

      Tina – I’m sorry, but your name doesn’t ring a bell. I don’t see any e-mail from you in my inbox (or my spam folder even.) I don’t have any messages from you on Facebook or Twitter, nor do I have any voicemails from you. How did you try to contact me? I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, though I don’t have time right this second to do so. Send me an e-mail – [email protected] or a message on Facebook and I’ll be happy to talk to you all you’d like about the Green Tea Coalition. My phone number is 770-330-2030, though I’m tied up most of today in meetings, starting in about 30 seconds. I’m free after 5:30ish. Gotta run… talk to you soon!

    • Okay, we’re taking a quick coffee / bio break, so I’ll try to answer as best as I can, given the limited amount of time, so that the answer is public.

      The core organizing group of the GTC is currently as follows:
      Colleen Kiernan (Sierra Club), Seth Gunning (Sierra Club), Debbie Dooley (Tea Party), David Staples (Conservative / libertarian Republican), Ed Painter (Tea Party), Linda Fowler (Tea Party), Daniel Blackman (Democratic / black caucus?), Shane Owl-Greason (currently involved in the solar industry – believe he’s talked about giving up seat on GTC due to what some may perceive is a conflict of interest). There have been a few other people at some of our meetings, though I’m not sure if they’re considered part of the core group or not.

      I guess technically, none of us are “official” yet, as we’ve been focused on developing the Utility Customer Bill of Rights, our internal governance documents, figuring out processes and procedures, etc. The Utility Customer Bill of Rights became a priority when we found out we had a deadline because of the documentary film crew’s interest. Otherwise, we may still be working on it, but have our governance / organizational stuff completed. As I mentioned, we meet for a couple of hours or so every week – a combination of in person and by phone. We debated for a bit about majority vs consensus and arrived at the conclusion that we needed a consensus rule. We’re trying to be as open and transparent as possible, though you may have to bear with us. None of us are getting paid – we’re all volunteers, so we do what we can when we can. Anyhow, my break is over… I may be able to answer more later. Take care!

  8. regs-gridlock says:

    1) For the Tea Party Patriots to align with the Sierra Club, who is opposed to all forms of energy generation, in the name of “free markets” is a dirty joke. DD is a pawn in the “environmentalists”s chess game and not smart enough to recognize it. The howling? As the saying goes, if you can’t pound the facts, pound the table.
    2) The solar companies involved are rent-seeking. They’re not satisfied with selling equipment to individuals and businesses (for which there are no barriers except one’s ability to pay), and not satisfied with selling energy to utilities. They want to BE a utility. What hypocrisy to attack the very entities to which they aspire!
    3) It is ridiculous to ascribe every opposer as “Koch-supported” and every supporter as God-supported (as a steward). That’s a tactic of the left to discredit those with whom they disagree and cast a favorable light on even the most nefarious goals.
    4) Benita Dodd is right. TPP has made a very bad move here. It is hurting the conservative movement. But DD doesn’t have the guts to admit when she’s wrong and will continue to lead others right over the cliff.

    • George Chidi says:

      It is probably worth mentioning that the proprietor of this comment, Patti Gettinger, is a member of Georgia Tea Party, Inc., which has been at odds with the Georgia Tea Party Patriots for years. Bill Evelyn, head of GTPI, essentially called Dooley’s group “an appendage of the Georgia GOP.” For reference’s sake, note that Evelyn was sufficiently … non-mainstream … to back the secessionist former League of the South head Ray McBerry for governor in 2010.

      Notably, Gettinger’s piece from a few days ago is running on the David Koch-organ Americans For Prosperity website, which describes GTPI as “an AFP coalition partner.”

      This. This is what I’m talking about when I ask out loud about explaining your motivations plainly.

    • George Chidi says:

      Now, as to the substance of her commentary — such as it is — this is the second person claiming to be informed about the issues at hand that has essentially called Dooley stupid. That’s starting to grate on me from the cheap seats.

      Solar isn’t attacking utilities. But their advocates are plainly attacking the regulatory structure underpinning utilities’ operations. If that’s the same thing, then we have a broader discussion coming about where the line should be drawn between public and private goods.

      As it happens, given the fact that Gettinger has written for the Koch-founded AFP website, for crying out loud, it’s probably worth disclosing that bit before complaining about people being vilified for the connections.

      And Gettinger really doesn’t offer a meaningful explanation about why this is “hurting the conservative movement,” beyond the assertion itself. And that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  9. debbie0040 says:

    @Tina Trent, we are volunteers and we don’t have the money to pay anyone. Green Tea Coalition is not paying anyone and different members pay things out of their own pockets until funding comes in. We are just getting the legal status set up so we can accept donations.
    We have a core group that consists of tea party activists, other conservative groups and environmentalists that are getting things set up. We have to agree completely without dissent in order to tackle something. Give us time to get things set up and actually receive donations and things will be disclosed.

    @regs-gridlock, which one of the Rights we agreed on do you oppose? Please don’t just use the old Clinton tactic of it you can’t discredit the message, go after the messenger. What specifically do you object to? Shouldn’t consumers have choice in who they purchase their power from and what power they use? Shouldn’t consumers have the option of selling excess power they create on their private property to others?

    Maybe this is what you and your friends are really concerned about:

    Companies Unplug From the Electric Grid, Delivering a Jolt to Utilities
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324906304579036721930972500.html

    • debbie0040 says:

      @Tina Trent,
      There were already going to be changes to HB 657 so a monopoly is not created. I do oppose what some solar companies want to do and that is to bring heavily subsidized PPAs or California solar to Georgia using RPS. I will oppose that. I find it amusing that some of these solar companies are trying to undermine what we are trying to accomplish by advocating for advancing solar in a conservative way. They are addicted to subsidies and RPS.

      • John Konop says:

        Very informative….keep it up! This thread has been very educational……many of you have really done a good job of debating this issue with facts……not spin…….

        Regs, you should put the partisan spin behind…..and read the comments, you might learn something.

    • Tina Trent says:

      Sorry, Debbie, there is no excuse for not providing a list of member organizations if you are presenting yourself as a coalition and doing media as such. Either you exist as a coalition or you are not a coalition: who are you? Which “tea party” groups? Which “conservative” groups? Which “environmental” groups?

      Why on earth would you not have an answer for that? The first thing a coalition is is its list. How many members? Who?

      And “some people are paying from their organizations” . . . which organizations are subsidizing you?

      Is there money coming in from that solar farm that stands to benefit from this bill: yes or no?

      Easy stuff.

  10. ShaneOG says:

    HB657 is far from a solar monopoly. A monopoly would mean it is the only solar provider. It doesn’t prevent any company or business from installing solar on their home or business nor does it prevent anyone from leasing solar equipment for people, businesses, municipalities or schools. So many fail to see what the bill does and why. It creates solar assets in rural GA using bonds @ 3.5-6% vs the Wall Street PPA investors that want 10-15% ROIs. It also solves the biggest problems which are:

    1) it adds solar assets to grid for renters, condo/highrise dwellers, shady/non-optimal properties for the life of the systems so in 20-25 years the paid for assets energy costs drop to 1-2 cents to further reduce electric rates for voluntary participants;
    2) it allows PSC to oversee an optimization study of GA’s solar resource so we know where and how much solar best helps lower electric rates…letting the market determine that based on $ and land is why Germany is having so many problems;
    3) it gets to cheapest $ and looks at quality of asset do the assets perform to benefit the customers vs what we have now which are most expensive financing and no one caring about quality.

    So if someone has a reason why this is called a monopoly when it doesn’t prevent anyone from installing solar privately and is only meant to hold solar assets and create rate reductions for customers who can’t install solar and it delivers solar for 40-60 years with the price dropping from approx 10 cents to 1-2 cents after 20-25 years vs what we have now which allows PPA owners to renegotiate after 20 years when electric rates are 20-22 cents, please by all means tell me how this is a monopoly? Are we only going to fight for people how can go solar? What about the 50% of customers who can’t go solar? How do they benefit from solar and why is it bad for a company to hold solar assets for those customers and have those assets drop in price once they are paid off?

    Also, please note that the power companies have no incentive to create lower electric rates for customers….this is the first bill that does that as it’s sole purpose.

    Once again, no other bill does these things and it does not stop any other community solar or private solar….and it puts solar in a position to not need state or ratepayer subsidies, not a mandate since it only happens based on voluntary subscription, send all rate reductions to subscribers, and makes sure paid for assets deliver the lowest cost electricity to the grid.

    When you hear of a “solar plan” simply ask who benefits, the customers or Wall Street investors?

    Forgive any misspellings above….on a cell phone and going blind typing this 🙂

  11. Just Nasty and Mean says:

    I resent and question why Debbie Dooley involves the leveraging of the “Tea Party” name and credibility to advance this “unique” coalition. Why not just join the Sierra Club, or start a new group—like “Free Enterprise for Solar Energy” or some such?
    Debbie should know better than associating with other organizations on just one or two areas where you agree just doesn’t work. When you associate with dogs, you get fleas. The Sierra Club wants to grow the government (Read EPA) to FORCE Americans into their line of thinking on how we should use the earth’s resources. Is that something the Tea Party wants to do?
    I think not….. Are you listening Debbie Dooley?
    This initiative might have a very good intention. But diluting a brand that all patriots and conservatives have worked hard to coalesce into a political movement into this odd offshoot, takes away from our overall purpose.

    • “When you associate with dogs, you get fleas.”

      So, using your logic… Christians should never associate with non-Christians, right? All those mission trips to third world countries are a waste of time. Christians should just build a wall around whatever cities they can and keep all the non-believers out, right?

    • debbie0040 says:

      @Just Nasty and Mean, I am not afraid to post on this blog where everyone knows who I am. I stand by what I post and don’t try to be a coward and hide behind a monicker.

      To begin with, there are tea party activists that support/involved with Green Tea Coalition from Dalton area, Walker County area, Murray County , Savannah, the Blackshear / Vidalia area, Fayette County, North Fulton, Catoosa County, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Bartow, Forsyth County, etc. Cherokee County School board Member Kelly Marlow was one of the first to encourage me to move forward with it. It isn’t just Atlanta Tea Party and we are adding new conservative supporters every day. I am hearing from young people that are connected to conservative national organizations telling me I am doing the right thing. Two even offered to help set up chapters on college campuses. There are many groups that are just extensions of the local GOP that call themselves tea party that shouldn’t be, but I don’t go around demanding they stop calling themselves tea party.

      From the beginning, the tea party has been tainted with what Americans For Prosperity and Freedom Works do and their associations with corporate interests. When one tea party decides to address social issues, we all get painted with that brush even though most don’t.

      Need I remind you that in 2012 during the T-SPLOST fight, Americans For Prosperity former State Director endorsed T-SPLOST and wrote an Op-Ed piece supporting it. We all then received an email from the national office of AFP with Thomas’s Op-ED saying AFP was staying neutral because both sides made good points. Sierra Club and NAACP joined in the fight and thank God they did or the Metro area would have passed T SPLOST. Would you have preferred T-SPLOST passed?

      How about Syria? A coalition of left and right in the U.S. House were prepared to vote against action in Syria? Would you have preferred a different outcome.?

      The ACLU and NRA joined forces in a lawsuit to challenge the NSA spying. Guess you need to notify the NRA they are going to get up with fleas.

      I can handle the fleas, but it is the rattlesnakes I can’t handle. These are groups and conservatives that claim to have principles but they cherry pick their principles to suit the issue and donors. Their actions don’t match their words. This happened with conservative and conservative groups during 2008 and TARP Bailout. How many conservative groups and conservatives ended up supporting TARP? How many loudly proclaim to be for lower taxes and loudly declare their opposition to tax increases but think it ok to support a tax increase as long as it is for a good cause? IE: Republican Leadership in the U.S. House is advocating for the Internet Sales Tax.

      We are the ones that are standing by free market principles and limited government. Please tell me wanting all energy subsidies to end and have energy compete in the market is not free market tea party values? How is wanting the government to stop picking winners and losers in the energy market not limited government tea party values?

      You need to take your blinders off and realize there are many Republicans and conservative groups that want to grow government as well even though they claim they don’t.

      David Staples posted the Utility Customer’s Bill of Rights above. Please let us know what you disagreed with.

      • benevolus says:

        Speaking for myself, I use a pseudonym because I run a company and I don’t want people looking for my company to come across a bunch of political rambling that has nothing to do with my business. I don’t feel like that makes me a coward, just prudent. You may not have the same concern, but painting with such a broad, insutling brush will do you no favors as you try to further your agenda.

        Besides, I am a nobody and knowing who I am will not change anything about a conversation we might have. You still won’t know me. So I ask, why is it so important for you to know who you are conversing with? What difference does it make? If you only want to participate in conversations with “somebodies”, then don’t respond if you don’t know who you are responding to instead of hosing down the conversation with insults.

        I keep trying to like you, but you make it hard.

        • debbie0040 says:

          benevolus, debating policy while hiding your identity is one thing, but when posters attack and hide behind a monicker, that is cowardice in my opinion.

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