The PJM complaint and the rising cost of electric reliability.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Who says ratepayers must accept the traditional measure of electric reliability—a single one-hour outage every ten years? If shown the bill ahead of time, might they decide otherwise; that such luxury is no longer affordable? Consumers are making similar decisions about gasoline and mortgages. Why not electricity?
Notice that Chairman Joseph Kelliher and his fellow commissioners at the FERC already are busy preparing consumers for this sobering comeuppance—that we as a nation can no longer afford our grandfathers’ grid. Listen to Commissioner Suedeen Kelly, commenting at FERC’s June 19th meeting on an eye-opening presentation from the commission staff (see Figure 1) on the rising cost of electric-generation facilities.
“We have a weak dollar,” warned Kelly. “We have an economic slowdown … We have a financial sector that has been battered by financial crises, and credit is tight.
“This,” she added, “makes the whole notion of building more electricity infrastructure a difficult one.”
And Kelliher added, “I think it is important that these hard realities be better understood by the general public and others.”