Poll: Exelon’s ComEd Customers Disapprove of Efforts to Thwart Lower-Cost Energy Source, Especially If Their Money Is Used To Fight Wind Energy

The Checks and Balances Project commissioned a poll that shows high levels of support for wind energy and ratepayer antipathy toward actions carried out by Commonwealth Edison’s parent company, Exelon, to end wind power investments.

The majority of respondents opposed ending the tax credit that encourages the production of wind power (54%), and opposition to ending the tax credit rose significantly (70%) if ratepayer money was used to help fund the lobbying efforts to end the tax credits for wind power.

It is not clear whether Exelon is using ratepayer money to fund their multimillion dollar lobbying campaign against the wind tax credit. But the public and ratepayers have a right to know.

Regardless of how they fund their campaign, it is clear that ratepayers strongly support investment in wind energy. Ratepayers oppose Exelon’s efforts to go after investment in wind, while Exelon remains supportive of continued subsidies for nuclear energy (Nuclear energy comprises over 90% of Exelon’s holdings in the power generation sector).

The poll shows that:
• 81% of respondents support wind energy.
• A majority of respondents would favor increasing (57%) or not changing (21%) financial incentives offered to renewable energy.
• A majority (54%) respondents oppose Exelon’s efforts to end tax credits for wind
• This number jumps to 70% when told ratepayer dollars may be funding this lobbying effort.
• Nearly two-thirds (63%) opposed Exelon’s efforts to end wind tax credits while the company did not lobby to end subsidies for nuclear energy as well.

The popularity of wind as an energy source shouldn’t be surprising. Numerous studies have shown that consumers benefit from wind electricity’s lower rates. A study by Synapse Energy Economics found that wind power could save Midwestern consumers between $3 billion and $9.5 billion a year by 2020. In addition, wind energy tax breaks have incentivized more than $75 billion worth of private investment over the past five years.

Ending the PTC will harm ratepayers by removing the savings they would receive from wind energy and clear the path to more expensive sources of energy like nuclear power. Furthermore, wind energy competition to Exelon’s nuclear plants may be driving Exelon’s efforts to stop wind energy tax credits.

Our poll shows that Exelon’s current course of action is inconsistent with the stated wants of its ratepayers. The company should be responsive to its customers and cease lobbying against the interests of their customers.

Click here for more info on the poll.

Silence of the Lamborn on Pledge to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

**Update: Our friend Tom Kenworthy from the Center for American Progress breaks down the economic facts behind drilling over at The Wonk Room. The question remains: Will Lamborn, Hastings and their colleagues finally work to end government welfare for fossil fuels?**

On Monday, March 28, a group of 15 residents of the Colorado Springs area visited Representative Doug Lamborn’s district office and ask him to sign a pledge to no longer vote for billions of dollars taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry. The group made their request in the wake of Lamborn’s bill to de-fund National Public Radio (NPR), specifically remarks he made in support of this bill that, “It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet.”

The group of El Paso County residents asked Rep. Lamborn, Chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, to sign, “Stand on Your Own Feet Pledge.” The pledge’s text states that signers will vote against renewing or creating any government subsidies to the oil, gas and nuclear energy industries. Lamborn received national attention in March when he sponsored a bill in the US House of Representatives to de-fund NPR.

Paul Carestia, the group’s spokesman, cited $97 billion in tax dollars that will be given to fossil fuel and nuclear companies. That number was taken from Taxpayers for Common Sense’s 2010 “Green Scissors” report and is “based on projected subsidies for the oil and gas, coal, and nuclear industries from 2011 through 2015.”

“Rep. Lamborn summed it up,” said Carestia. “The top five oil and gas companies reported profits of $77 billion last year. Meanwhile, $97 billion tax dollars*, our tax dollars, are wrapped up in a nice bow and given to the CEOs of oil, gas, coal and nuclear corporations. If Mr. Lamborn is so determined to cut wasteful, federal spending, he should pledge to end this billion dollar welfare to polluting industries that are making billions in profits.”

“We’re tired of hearing Rep. Lamborn and his colleagues talk about the need to cut federal spending from one side of their faces and then turn around and say that oil, gas and nuke CEO’s need tax breaks and subsidies from the other side,” said Kirby Hughes, a Colorado Springs area businessman. “They’re writing checks to their campaign donors and using our tax dollars to do it.”

According to opensecrets.org, Lamborn has received $107,462 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over the course of his congressional career.

The group has not received a reply from Lamborn’s office. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Lamborn’s office released a statement saying simply, “Congressman Lamborn appreciates and considers the views of all his constituents. He respects the right of citizens to peaceably assemble and express those views.”

Maybe the Big Bird will set Big Oil Free

Re-posted from www.coloradopols.com

There’s been much ado over Rep. Lamborn’s push to “set Big Bird” free by cutting federal tax dollars to NPR. Just yesterday, the Colorado

Springs Independent reported that a group of local citizens are asking him to pledge to set Big Oil free of the billions of subsidies they get which drive up our federal deficit and oil and gas speculation in the Rockies and elsewhere.

Congressman Doug Lamborn hates the idea of big government spending constituents’ hard-earned tax dollars on socialisms so much that he introduced a (probably unconstitutional) bill into the U.S. House that would shut off the geyser of dollar bills to the “left-leaning” National Public Radio. [...]

So on Monday, a group of Lamborn’s tax-strapped constituents are gonna see if he’ll put an end to another wasteful, socialist giveaway of their hard-earned dollars: the huge subsidies to not-exactly-struggling oil companies.

Will he sign the pledge?

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