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.

Nina Pierpont: Discredited Time and Time Again

Nina Pierpont is a pediatrician and an opponent of wind turbines. In a 2009 book she authored, Pierpont invented the term, “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”

Since then, Pierpont’s theories have been widely discredited by the scientific community, which points to severe flaws in her research methodology and lack of statistical validity, among other problems.

We pulled together the five major flaws in Pierpont’s theory about wind turbines:

Experts dispute the premise of Pierpont’s theory.

  • A panel of medical doctors, audiologists and acoustical professionals – including Dr. Robert J. McCunney of MIT – concluded, “There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans.“ (Expert Panel Review, 2009)

Pierpont used a sample size that was not valid.

  • Pierpont’s study included just 38 people in 5 counties who at some point lived near wind turbines. “[N]o conclusions on the health impact of wind turbines can be drawn from Pierpont’s work due to methodological limitations including small sample size, lack of exposure data, lack of controls and selection bias.” (Dr. Arlene King, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, 2010)

Pierpont did not see her “subjects” in person nor did she medically examine them.

Pierpont’s work was not properly peer reviewed.

  • Pierpont’s work was never properly peer reviewed, as she claims. Instead, “she showed [her work] to people she selected and then published some of their responses, including that by Oxford University’s Lord Robert May, whose subsequent public silence on the issue may suggest a re-think.”Without proper peer review, it is difficult if not impossible to assess the validity of claimed scientific findings. (Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, 2010)

There were no recorded complaints from anyone else.

  • There is no record of complaints or symptoms of so-called “Wind Turbine Syndrome” from owners of the land on which the turbines actually sit. (TreeHugger, 2011)
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