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.

Coloradans forced to pay twice for gasoline

In Colorado, Clean Water Action and Colorado Conservation Voters held events on Tax Day to hold Congressmen Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton accountable for the special tax breaks and subsidies they are handing out to Big Oil. While at local gas stations, citizens asked why they were being forced to “shoulder more than $157 million of the burden for oil and gas tax breaks” especially when gas prices are at an all time high.

Fat Cat takes photos with drivers calling an end to taxpayer handouts to Big Oil. Source: Clean Water Action

“It’s high time Coloradans stop paying twice for gas – once at the pump and again on Tax Day,” said Gary Wockner, director of Clean Water Action. “We should end the billions in taxpayer handouts to Big Oil fat cats, but Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton have voted a half dozen times to protect Big Oil tax breaks.”

According to Clean Water Action:

Coloradans are paying just over $3.85 a gallon for gas, $0.29 more per gallon than one year ago. While Colorado families struggle to adjust to higher energy prices, the top five oil and gas companies alone reported $137 billion in profits this past year.

Oil and gas interests have given more than $6.8 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress so far this election cycle, 88 percent of which went to Republican members.

Rep. Mike Coffman has taken $164,800 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, and Rep. Scott Tipton has taken $104,600.

“Big Oil is buying-off our members of Congress, including Reps. Coffman and Tipton, to keep protect billions in special tax breaks,” said Wockner. “No wonder the only solution to gas prices these politicians offer up are gimmicks like ‘drill, baby, drill.”

“Instead of taking money from Big Oil, the Congressmen should vote to end Big Oil tax breaks and reinvest those funds in long term solutions such as transportation improvements, the next generation of renewable fuels, and high tech vehicles,” concluded Wockner.

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