The organization that runs our nation’s largest electricity auction valued at more than $10 billion wants to sabotage states trying to combat climate change by subsidizing clean energy like wind and solar power.
PJM Interconnection is trying to rewrite the rules that govern wholesale electricity prices to favor polluters and Trump donors like coal-burning power plants. Trump has stacked the commission that oversees electricity regulation to help it do this.
JM Interconnection is trying to rewrite the rules to favor polluters and Trump donors like coal-burning power plants.
Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, and 10 other state attorneys general wrote the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking it to promote markets that recognize the rights of states under federal law to choose cleaner energy. States such as Washington, New Mexico and New York want to get all their electricity from clean energy.
“It is not just and reasonable to seek high prices to maintain the competitiveness of aging, uneconomic, and higher-emitting resources by discriminating against state-supported cleaner technologies,” they wrote.
Calpine Corp., the private equity-owned company that is the largest generator of electricity from natural gas, and 14 other power companies including the bankrupt Homer City Generation and GenOn Energy Management asked the commission to rewrite the rules on setting electricity prices to benefit them.
Calpine Corp. is owned by a group of investors led by Energy Capital Partners which spent $2.5 million in federal lobbying in 2018. Energy Capital Partners was founded by Doug Kimmelman who promotes himself as supporting disadvantaged youth, but the proposal his firm is pushing could increase electricity bills for the average residential customer in the PJM market by $6 a month or about $5.7 billion for 65 million homes and businesses.
The costs would vary in the District of Columbia and the 13 states that PJM operates in ranging from $25 million in Michigan to $1.1 billion in Ohio, according to an analysis from Grid Strategies LLC. PJM had planned to hold its auction in August, but the commission has repeatedly delayed it.
PJM contends subsidies for clean energy will ultimately drive cheaper electricity generators from the market and raise prices.
Organizations like PJM whose former CEO, Andrew Ott, made $700,000 were created by the commission to estimate the demand for electricity and run regional wholesale electricity markets. The PJM auction is the largest single auction of electricity in the country, if not the world, but a federal report found that the commission has not assessed the overall performance of these markets.
In the most recent PJM auction, for 2021-2022 delivery year, prices increased by more than 80% over previous year prices.
Trump’s petty vindictiveness on full display despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis
As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.
He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”
It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.
‘Unconscionable’: Trump administration turns a blind eye to price gouging amid the coronavirus pandemic
The Federal Trade Commission, the federal agency created more than a century ago by President Woodrow Wilson, is supposed to protect consumers, but don’t expect the commission’s Republican majority to step in as our nation’s citizens are searching for hand sanitizer and face masks.
The startlingly unethical antics of ventilator manufacturers
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina announced that a company called ResMed had agreed to pay more than $37 million to settle allegations under the False Claims Act that it illegally paid kickbacks to promote sales of equipment used to treat sleep apnea.
The case did not receive much attention at the time, but ResMed, which also produces ventilators, is now one of the companies involved in the controversy over the distribution of equipment that hospitals desperately need to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.