by Chris Martin
11/27/13 – Here’s a riddle to vex the Washington political class: When do Tea Party Republicans stand together with Sierra Club environmentalists?
The answer lies in their support for solar energy. The Green Tea Coalition, a Georgia-based group, is reviving a Republican Party link with the Sierra Club that dates back more than a century to President Theodore Roosevelt. Their goal is to reignite support for environmental conservation and fight traditional utilities’ market power by pushing alternative energy sources, especially solar power. “Some people have called this an unholy alliance,” says Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of both the coalition and the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. “We agree on the need to develop clean energy, but not much else.”
In recent years, Dooley organized protests of what she calls Georgia Power’s (SO) stranglehold on its customers. She was especially rankled in 2009 after the company, the state’s largest utility, added a monthly surcharge to customer bills to finance the development of two nuclear reactors south of Augusta. In 2012, Dooley was approached by the local chapter of the Sierra Club about joining forces to lobby Georgia’s Public Service Commission to require Georgia Power to buy more solar power.
Read the whole article: Businessweek
by Grace Wyler
11/21/13 — These days Barry Goldwater, Jr. is on an unlikely crusade. In March, the former California Republican congressman founded Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed, or TUSK, after Arizona’s largest electric utility proposed a hefty new fee on solar customers and a plan to lower net metering rates, which dictate how much electric utilities pay solar customers for excess energy sold back to the grid. “Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice,” Goldwater said in a statement on TUSK’s website. So he cobbled together a ragtag coalition of libertarian-minded conservatives, solar industry advocates, and business groups to wage a colorful guerrilla campaign. In the past few months, TUSK has run ads attacking the electric utility on conservative talk radio and the Drudge Report. They’ve posted clever YouTube videos, including a song parody sung to the tune of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “They Totally Think We’re Not Smart.”
Read the whole article: New Republic
by Ray Henry
ATLANTA (AP) 11/18/13 — Georgia Power would accept a lower return on shareholder investments and ditch a proposal to charge special rates for rooftop solar power under a preliminary agreement reached Monday.
The Southern Co. subsidiary reached a tentative deal with Georgia utility regulators to set its rates through 2016. It would reduce the value of the rate increases sought by the utility by more than $500 million over a three-year period, according to regulatory filings. The agreement must still be approved by the elected members of the Public Service Commission, though they typically ratify such deals.
Utility shareholders who invest money in the electrical grid would get a lower return on their investments. The return would drop to 10.95 percent from the current 11.15 percent. Georgia Power originally wanted an 11.5 percent return on its shareholder investments.
Read the whole article: Houston Chronicle
by Gloria Tatum
(APN) ATLANTA 11/18/13 — The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has finished months of public and expert testimony on Georgia Power’s request for a 482 million dollar rate increase and an increase in the company’s guaranteed profit from 11.15 percent to 11.50 percent.
Georgia Power is also asking for a surcharge of $5.56 per kilowatt on self-generated power from solar panels, plus a solar tariff, on customers who install solar panels after January 01, 2014.
The PSC is expected to consider the requests at its December 17, 2013, administrative session.
If approved, the 482 million dollar rate hike would add nearly eight dollars per month to the average residential bill. The solar tax is another 22 dollars for residential customer and commercial solar systems who add solar after January 01.
According to Georgia Watch, this is on top of Georgia Power increases since 2003 that have added over 44 dollars per month to household electric bills.
Read the whole article: Atlanta Progressive News
by Christopher Martin
11/12/13 — Here’s a riddle to vex the Washington political class: When do Tea Party Republicans stand together with Sierra Club environmentalists?
The answer is on their support for solar energy against the monopoly power of traditional utilities in some of the most conservative U.S. states.
A Georgia splinter group known as the Green Tea Coalition, which is part of the broader anti-big-government movement, is reviving the Republican link with the Sierra Club that dates back more than a century to President Theodore Roosevelt’s work to protect the environment. Its influence is being felt in other states, from Arizona in the West to North Carolina on the East Coast.
Read the whole article: Bloomberg News