Saturday, May 16, 2015

NorthWestern Energy, other monopolies have free rein with SDPUC

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is staffed by Republicans so they're pushovers for rate increases by companies who bankroll their elections to the posts they hold.

NorthWestern Energy has its base of operations in South Dakota because of the state's regressive corporate tax law, so do several other monopolies utilities.

After approval by the PUC, NorthWestern’s request will mean an average increase of $16.76 per month for the typical electric customer, or about 56 cents per day.

According to information provided to the Huron Daily Plainsman, the rate case has nothing to do with carbon rules proposed by the Obama administration for coal-fired plants; but, 96 percent of the $26.5 million being requested involves the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandated pollution controls at the Big Stone/Neal Unit 4 generating plants, Aberdeen peaking plant and the Yankton substation.

Behind the paywall at the Aberdeen American News the paper is hosting a propaganda piece written by NWE's CEO who lives in Helena, Montana: a place where his personal income is taxed by the state. He wants the SDPUC to allow the company to raise its rates because of a decision to buy dams that generate power from public waterways in Montana and to build a new complex in Butte.

Public Service New Mexico (PNM) was denied a rate increase because that state has a vigorous two party system where steamrolling over the state's power commission, made up of representatives from both political parties, is improbable. PNM has been sent back to the drawing board to rewrite its proposal for an increase.

Imagine such folly happening in South Dakota.

This was the biggest hit day in the history of The Dakota Progressive: thanks to all who visit here.

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