July 29, 2011

Zapped: Rhode Island Gets Not One, But Two, Artificial Rate Hikes

Monique Chartier

... both in today's Providence Journal; both courtesy a misguided General Assembly.

One hike for the poor.

The Henry Shelton Act, signed into law earlier this month by Governor Chafee, creates a new state fund to help low-income families pay for their heating and electric bills, authorizing the state to develop a new surcharge for utility ratepayers of no more than $20 a year –– or about $1.66 a month. ...

Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, said that for many needy Rhode Islanders, the current utility-bill system was simply “not working.” Households previously faced utility shutoffs if they had any outstanding debt — no matter how small, according to lawmakers.

Another hike for the planet.

When the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier this month upholding a long-term contract for the sale of power from Deepwater Wind’s proposed wind farm off Block Island, it was a green light for the company to resume work on the project. ...

Because developing offshore wind power is expensive — Deepwater’s proposal, with the transmission cable included, will cost about $250 million and, because no similar projects have been built in the United States yet, such wind farms are considered a huge risk to investors and lenders.

But Deepwater’s contract with National Grid guarantees a source of income for 20 years, with a selling price that starts at up to 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. With the deal now in place, a project that was once uncertain becomes something much more attractive to banks and other financial institutions.

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"starts at up to 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour"

By my math, that could be from 0 cents to 24.4 cents.

Posted by: TivertonSailboy at July 29, 2011 10:45 PM

Can I claim this "charitable" deduction on my taxes?

Posted by: Mark at July 30, 2011 5:21 AM

So I pay for their heat and electricity while they blow $50 a week on cigarettes?

Posted by: john at July 30, 2011 7:28 AM

Poor people would never waste money. Only rich people making over 40k waste money on yachts and mansions. They can afford to pay for 80-degree subsidized apartments all winter.

I am so sorry I left Rhode Island and will be unwilling to take part in this grand social experiment, which has never, ever been tried before.

Posted by: Dan at July 30, 2011 8:26 AM

Back around 2004 I was working at Lincoln Park and Shelton had led a protest at the PUC that day.
A bunch of women who had been protesting came into the place,still wearing their buttons(how else could one know?)-many of which said "Acorn",and were playing the mchines,smoking,and sucking down overpriced Dunkin'Donuts coffee.
Of course they didn't bother paying heat/electric bills.They depend on foolish do-gooders like Shelton and functional idiots like Chafee to get the rest of us to pay those ills for them.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 30, 2011 10:13 AM

Why stop there? Why not add a fee on to my mortgage to help people struggling with theirs? My water bill, my trips to Stop & Shop, my car payment, my cable bill, my phone bill, my car repairs, my child care services. Why the special focus on electric?

Posted by: Patrick at July 31, 2011 8:27 AM
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