In our Halloween edition last week, we asked readers what scared them the most about trends in the utilities industry and regulation. To our inbox came your Halloween horrors, three of which are excerpted here:
A battle is currently brewing between members of Congress to either terminate or expand the current seventy-five hundred dollar electric vehicle tax credit. They should learn from Georgia which in 2015 repealed the state’s robust electric car tax credit, and penalized electric car buyers with a fee. The move led to a nearly ninety percent drop in new electric car registrations and cost Georgia income, jobs and cleaner air. Here’s why Congress should not repeat Georgia’s mistake.
Public Utilities Fortnightly now forecasts that the U.S. grid’s coal plants will generate under a billion megawatt-hours this year. That would be big news in itself. But our forecast is that coal plant generation will fall further, below nine-tenths of a billion megawatt-hours.
Not since the late nineteen-seventies have coal plants produced so little power in the U.S. in a year. Which is extra remarkable because the U.S. grid’s overall production of power — from all generation sources — is now about twice what it was in the late nineteen-seventies.
Talking about 1898, Samuel Insull’s historic speech, “Public Control and Private Operation,” took place on the seventh of June of that year, in Insull’s adopted town of Chicago. Here are his key words that day, that built the foundation for the regulated utility industry:
“Acute competition necessarily frightens the investor, and compels corporations to pay a very high price for capital…
Electric rates were actually lower in September than a year ago, for northeast and midwest households, with and without adjusting for inflation. As a consequence, the nationwide Consumer Price Index component for electricity rose just seven-tenths of a percent year-over-year. While the overall CPI rose significantly more, by one and seven-tenths of a percent.
The forty-six qualifying nominations for this year’s Fortnightly Top Innovators included one hundred and thirty-seven innovators. Twenty-three of the nominations — exactly half of them – were of an individual innovator. The remaining twenty-three nominations were of a group of innovators. The groups ranged from small two-person teams to large teams with as many as a dozen team members.