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BPA Residential Exchange Credit
I got a letter today, as probably did many of my local readers, from PGE explaining that the BPA residential exchange credit is being suspended and that "residential customers will see their [electricity] bills increase an average of 13 - 14 percent."
Firstly, I'm upset that they wasted a whole bunch of money by making a special mailing instead of including this information with my next bill.
Secondly, the mailing doesn't tell me anything useful about the reasons why the credit is being suspended. It tells me that it's due to a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then tells me that "… electric utilities are uniting to fight for our customers' rights to their fair share of BPA benefits."
Hang on. Do I have such rights? Isn't that, just perhaps, exactly the matter the Court ruled on? I like to be an informed consumer and I would have appreciated hearing where I could find information on the merits of the case, not merely on its fallout. After searching for a while I found a news article with (a very few) more details:
I don't know exactly what this program is about. There's too much advocacy and too little explanation in the sources I've found. But it smells a lot like a subsidy designed to let private utilities buy BPA electricity at cost instead of at market rates:
(If you have links that describe the residential exchange in more detail, please post them in the comments.)
The problem in my eyes is not that my electric bill is going up. The problem is that I've been getting subsidized electricity in the first place. When you subsidize something, you encourage its wasteful and uneconomic use. I don't want to encourage wasteful and uneconomic use of anything. There should be no subsidies.
The original news article states:
What, pray tell, would be so bad about BPA selling its power at market rates? In fact, why not wholly privatize BPA by selling its assets to investors?