For Immediate Release
Public Citizen to House Lawmakers: Trump Administration Proposal to Subsidize Nuclear and Coal Would Burden Consumers
In Testimony, Tyson Slocum Outlines Simple Reforms Needed to Protect Consumers in America’s Power Markets.
WASHINGTON - In testimony before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Public Citizen Energy Program Director Tyson Slocum today roundly criticized U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize uneconomic nuclear and coal power plants as “radical” and wholly without merit.
Slocum’s testimony shows that experts agree: Perry’s proposal is poorly conceived and would saddle consumers with billions in bailout costs. Slocum’s testimony (PDF) describes how utility-scale renewables, combined with distributed energy resource investments, are the path forward to ensuring a reliable, affordable, resilient and sustainable energy system.
“America’s electric power markets are in the midst of a transformation,” Slocum told the lawmakers. “This transformation is making nuclear and coal uneconomical, while renewable energy is becoming more affordable. Consumers and system reliability benefit from these changes. But coal and nuclear industry lobbyists are pushing for the U.S. Department of Energy to force consumers to pay for uneconomic power sources. This isn’t just or reasonable. “
Slocum highlighted two areas that are ripe for reform to protect consumers. The first involves private Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), which were created to administer the electricity transmission grid on a regional basis throughout North America.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Our Summer Campaign Is Underway
Support Common Dreams Today
Independent News and Views Putting People Over Profit
The RTOs are structured in a way that makes them biased in favor of transmission and power plant owners, Slocum explained. One way to fix this would be to clearly separate the RTOs’ physical management of electricity on the grid and the RTOs’ role in administrating a complex “stakeholder” process where market reforms are developed. Such processes are too important to entrust to private organizations that remain under the sway of entrenched energy corporations, Slocum said.
The second area is equal access for consumers. Public Citizen has led a national coalition and petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create and fund an Office of Public Participation. The primary duty of such an office would be to coordinate assistance to the public, and provide compensation for reasonable attorney’s fees, expert witness fees and other costs of intervening or participating in any proceeding before the commission. The office would help the public participate in complicated rulemakings about issues that affect their pocketbooks.
Read Slocum’s testimony (PDF).
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.
Please select a donation method:
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.