A Free-Market Energy Blog

Educating Public Utility Regulators: Is It Fruitful?

By -- July 16, 2015

“Regulation did not originate as a goodwill gesture from enlightened attorneys who wanted to spread their notions of the public interest…. It emerged in its current shape largely as a way to enforce Samuel Insull’s efforts to protect his empire from competition for the long term….”

Attorney and author Scott Hempling makes his living testifying before regulatory commissions, often on behalf of public interest and consumer groups. He is the author of “Certifying Regulatory Professionals:  Why Not?” recently posted on ElectricityPolicy.com, (Part I here; Part II here), from which I quote below.

Hempling’s argument is straightforward.  Today, policy and technology are always in flux, which changes the boundary between efficient and inefficient practices. People should know more. Things would surely be better if only regulation were driven by both facts and expertise, an “independent force that aligns interests of the regulated with the public interest.”

The increasing complexity of industry issues needs to bring  forth a consensus of competence.

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Gas Furnace Rule Part II: Return of the “Scorched Gas” Policy

By Mark Krebs -- July 15, 2015

“Without due process and analytical transparency, purported societal benefits become even more debatable. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is supposed to comply with Executive Orders (EO) 12988 and 13132 to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce regulatory burdens.”

“In the realities of a competitive marketplace, such policies can and do abuse consumers’ best economic interests. By claiming some sort of market failure, DOE is authorized to force ‘energy efficiency’ investments’ upon consumers.”

On January 23rd, 2013, MasterResource published Gas Furnace Rule: Beware of “Scorched Gas” Policy. [1]  The opening paragraph stated:

“Hurrah” to the American Public Gas Association (APGA), a small trade group that was willing to step-up to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other special-interest organizations that want energy efficiency at any cost to the American consumer.

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James Hansen: Revisiting His False Alarms (10-year warning coming due!)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 14, 2015

“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”

– James Hansen, 2006 (“The Threat to the Planet,” New York Times Review of Books)

“We cannot afford to put off [climate policy] change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

– James Hansen, 2009 (“President ‘has four years to save Earth’“, The Guardian, January 17)

Science historian Thomas Kuhn warned of “scientists … behav[ing] differently” and experiencing “pronounced professional insecurity” when one of their long-held beliefs comes under increasing pressure from new science (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

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AWED Energy & Environmental Newsletter: July 13, 2015

By -- July 13, 2015
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An Open Letter to Senator Hatch on the PTC

By -- July 10, 2015
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Ratepayer Opportunity: State PUCs vs. EPA’s Power Plant Rule

By -- July 9, 2015
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Michigan v. EPA: Pyrrhic Victory or A Sign of More to Come?

By Josiah Neeley -- July 8, 2015
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Obama’s Truck Hit (Higher costs, higher consumer prices ahead for over-the-road fuel diet)

By Allen Brooks -- July 6, 2015
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Regulation of Public Utilities as a Pseudo Tax

By D. Brady Nelson -- July 2, 2015
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Cabotage Cronyism: Some History of the Jones Act

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 1, 2015
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