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There are just seven sessions left.

Both the dockets of the Senate and the House are full

It looks unlikely that the Senate will override its leadership and vote.

Now again is it time to call.

Senate Majority Leader
Senator Anthony J. DeLuca
(D) Varlano Legislative District: 11

Legislative Hall Office Outside Office
P.O. Box 1401
Dover, DE 19903

302-744-4165

It must go up for a vote…. (it still can if enough of us yell loud enough)

Many of you are familiar with the story and possibly with this year’s movie with the same title: Horton Hears A Who.

In that scenario, the tiny dust speck on which lives a whole civilization of “Who’s”, is about to be boiled alive. Only by making their existence known within the Kangaroo Court on whose decision their fate lies, will their civilization be spared. Even with everyone on the planet yelping, clanging, and gonging, only the giant elephant ears of Horton, can pick up their minuscule vibrations. Entreated by Horton, the mayor races through town to find any voice not appropriately yelling for its own salvation…..

In one room, more interested in playing with his yo yo, is one tiny ‘who”. Racing back to the megaphone, he holds the tiny tot up and gives it a big pinch….

It does the trick. Their existence is acknowledged.

The metaphorical parallels as to whether Delaware survives, prospers, or not, are somewhat scary.
So if you haven’t already done so today, put down your Yo Yo, pick up the phone to the above number….

AND SQUAWK!

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Margaret O’Neill Bldg
Suite 3
410 Federal St.
Dover, DE 19901
Ph(302)739-2399
FX(302)739-2398

Being observant of the law, I have several questions I wish to ask of you relating to Senator Harris McDowell and the report coming out of his committee that slams Bluewater Wind.

I know that you are besieged by citizen’s requests at this time because of the recent turn of events, but would like to hear back from you on these matters.

My questions will pertain to, as following this brief background of your statement of policy.

The General Assembly finds and declares:

(l) In our democratic form of government, the conduct of officers and employees of the State must hold the respect and confidence of the people. They must, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.

(2) To ensure propriety and to preserve public confidence, officers and employees of the State must have the benefit of specific standards to guide their conduct and of some disciplinary mechanisms to guarantee uniform maintenance of those standards. Some standards of this type are so vital to government that violation thereof should subject the violator to criminal penalties.

Thank you for your indulgence. First question is this.

If:

(1) No state employee, state officer or honorary state official may participate on behalf of the State in the review or disposition of any matter pending before the State in which he has a personal or private interest, provided, that upon request from any person with official responsibility with respect to the matter, any such person who has such a personal or private interest may nevertheless respond to questions concerning any such matter. A personal or private interest in a matter is an interest which tends to impair a person’s independence of judgment in the performance of his duties with respect to that matter……

Then how is the conduct of Harris McDowell while chairing the Senate Energy and Transit Committee hearing on Bluewater Wind, not a violation of the principals listed above?

Question 2:

If:

(2) A person has an interest which tends to impair his independence of judgment in the performance of his duties with respect to any matter when:

a. Any action or inaction with respect to the matter would result in a financial benefit or detriment to accrue to the person or a close relative to a greater extent than such benefit or detriment would accrue to others who are members of the same class or group of persons; or

b. The person or a close relative has a financial interest in a private enterprise which enterprise or interest would be affected by any action or inaction on a matter to a lesser or greater extent than like enterprises or other interests in the same enterprise.

Then how is the conduct of Harris McDowell while chairing the Senate Energy and Transit Committee hearing on Bluewater Wind, not a violation of the principals listed above?

Question 3:

If:

(1) No state employee, state officer or honorary state official may represent or otherwise assist any private enterprise with respect to any matter before the state agency with which the employee, officer or official is associated by employment or appointment.

(2) No state officer may represent or otherwise assist any private enterprise with respect to any matter before the State.

Then:

Despite the understanding that members of the General Assembly are not included in either the definition of either state officer or state employee..……How does the actions of State Senator Harris McDowell, who presided over what two very respected Senators publicly called a one-sided hearing, and witnesses have publicly acknowledged that openness was not tolerated in trying to find the one best solution to Delaware’s energy challenge….

How do these actions not heinously violate the principals stated above?

Question 4:

If:

No person who has served as a state employee, state officer or honorary state official shall represent or otherwise assist any private enterprise on any matter involving the State, for a period of 2 years after termination of his employment or appointed status with the State, if he gave an opinion, conducted an investigation or otherwise was directly and materially responsible for such matter in the course of his official duties as a state employee, officer or official.

Then:

How can Senator McDowell’s brazen attempt to pummel Delmarva’s interests over those of 90% of Delawareans, and not allowing any input from those same 90% of Delawareans, be considered as anything but “representing or otherwise assisting any private enterprise on any matter involving the State”?

Question 5:

If:

(1) Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable for each such violation by imprisonment of not more than one year and by a fine not to exceed $l0,000.

Then:

How is it that Harris McDowell and others guilty of collusion are exempt from this clause in the law?

Question 6:

If:

(3) The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over prosecution for all criminal violations of this section.

Then:

Can any citizen or citizen’s group including, but not limited to the ACLU, Common Cause, Citizens of a Better Sussex County, The Audubon Society of Delaware, The Green Party of Delaware, The Sierra Club, or any other; file claim in the Superior Court of Delaware to determine by legal means whether or not, the Public Integrity Law of Delaware was not-adhered-to in this case?

Question 7:

If:

No state employee, state officer or honorary state official shall accept other employment, any compensation, gift, payment of expenses or any other thing of monetary value under circumstances in which such acceptance may result in any of the following:

(1) Impairment of independence of judgment in the exercise of official duties;

(2) An undertaking to give preferential treatment to any person;

(3) The making of a governmental decision outside official channels; or

(4) Any adverse effect on the confidence of the public in the integrity of the government of the State.

Then:

How is a group of substantial campaign contributions coming from one such interest, under the appearance of a questionable quid pro quo, not a violation of the Public Integrity Law?

Question 8:

IF:

(c) No state employee, state officer, or honorary state official shall acquire a financial interest in any private enterprise which he has reason to believe may be directly involved in decisions to be made by him in an official capacity on behalf of the State.

Then:

How does passage by the Senate of SB228, which could benefit one Senator Harris McDowell, who as head of a Green Energy Consulting Business, which is a “for profit” entity which can now be in charge of and oversee the dispensing of over $100,000, 000 of Renewable Energy Credits, not a direct benefit to one Harris McDowell and those members of his committee which he chooses to appoint to his board of directors?

Question 9:

If:

(1) “Lobbyist” means any individual who acts to promote, advocate, influence or oppose any matter pending before the General Assembly by direct communication with the General Assembly or any matter pending before a state agency by direct communication with that state agency, and who in connection therewith either:

And (2):

(a) Every lobbyist shall register with the Commission in a lobbyist docket and file, at that time, the authorization from his employer as required by § 5833 of this title. A person who qualifies as a lobbyist in accordance with § 5831(a)(1)a. or b. of this shall register prior to performing any acts as a lobbyist. A person who qualifies as a lobbyist in accordance with § 5931(a)(1)c. of this title must register within 5 days after so qualifying, if not already registered as a lobbyist.

Then:

Why was Randall Speck, who represented unequivocally McDowell’s one-sided view, allowed to cross examine state employees on video tape which was not legally cleared by any other state agency, and not allowing any such cross examination by other registered lobbyist or registered attorney friendly to the interests of those state employees being cross examined also on that same video tape, allowed to do so without signing up with the Public Integrity Office as a lobbyist, which according to law, must be done if he is to collude or is to be involved with any part or portion of the Senate Committee of Energy and Transit’s hearings or events?
I'm Looking, but I See No Speck Here....

I reserve to further more questions in the future.

Although some affected by your investigation may impute that I have self interests in finding these answers, I would rather deflect all queries to your judgment as to whether, or not, the very integrity of the Public Integrity Office will be at stake, if these actions are allowed to go unchallenged.

At the behest of good government, I look forward to your reply.

You may answer here, in a public forum, if you wish………..

Sincerely:

Lie # 1:

The proposed charges for a 25-year Bluewater-Delmarva PPA are substantially above market rates.

Fact: The current bids purchased by Delmarva Power, as of March 2008, with all charges included, were $110 per MWh. Bluewater’s maximum price set for the next twenty five years, bundled with all possible charges, is locked in at $105 per Mwh. $105 is not larger than $110.

Lie #2:

Bluewater’s competitive pricing was achieved by “Modifying the underlying assumptions about future market conditions.”

As Tommywonk is prone to say, by questioning that natural gas prices will not go down, we are being accused of misleading the public.

Fact: Natural Gas prices did not go down as consultants predicted. They went up. Check out the latest prices.

What? Natural Prices Did Not Go Down?

As of yesterday, prices at nearly every trading location had increased on the week between 2 and 37 cents per MMBtu. The Henry Hub spot price increased 22 cents to $10.33 per MMBtu. The average regional spot price in Louisiana was $10.26 per MMBtu, about 24 cents higher than the previous Wednesday’s price. Prices in the Northeast yesterday averaged $10.95 per MMBtu, the highest average regional price in the Lower 48 States.

Lie #3

Perhaps the most useful cost comparison is between market rates for SOS customers

Fact: This comparative tool allows one to use a theoretical market price, in this case one contrived by speculation that carbon fuel prices will decline, and assuming that there will never be any carbon tax levied against those fuels. Even though both of these anticipate scenarios are highly unlikely, it still allows its proponents false footing on which to establish their argument that Bluewater is more expensive than “their idea of” market.

A better tool is to look at what we will spend: ie how much will it cost you and me. As mentioned above, we will spend $105 per MWh for twenty five years. Delmarva is currently spending $110 per MWh for our electricity now. Delmarva is already costing us more than Bluewater Wind ever will, and contrary to those consultants hired by Delmarva Power, since gas prices climbed instead of falling, it appears Delmarva will cost us much more in the future.

Lie #4

The total above-market cost of the proposed wind farm is estimated to be between $1.3 billion and $2.1 billion.

Fact: The market cost as previously mentioned does not reflect the reality we are paying for today. If one throws everything out, and focuses just on the $5 difference between what Delmarva will buy from Bluewater and what it buys at today’s market price, that $5 per MWh over each MWh sold for the twenty-five year life of Bluewater’s contract, will save Delawarean SOS customers 170 million dollars. If gas or coal costs rise any further, so does the amount we save over what we would have spent doing nothing.

We cannot reiterate enough, that using this market price comparisons are only credible if correct pricing is applied to both categories, not just one.

The single flaw of this analysis, is that this entire report is based on the comparison of Bluewater Wind to a model that with each passing day, seems more and more impossible to obtain in today’s shrinking energy market.

Arguments that the Senate Energy Committee’s report is one sided,… are valid. For nowhere in the report can one find mention that in today’s market, Bluewater Wind is cheaper than what Delmarva pays right now.

One has to give McDowell credit for stretching. If there were any way to make Bluewater Wind appear expensive, it would be to use old outdated pricing for Delmarva Power.

Of course anyone is capable of creating data showing that today’s prices are higher than those experienced at some point in our past. But you would be a fool to base your daily purchasing decisions on what you used to pay for things years ago.

Because that……. is what we do.

Today, a resolution ordering the General Assembly to vote yea or nay on accepting the Bluewater Wind deal, got out of committee and onto the floor.

Politicians who would personally gain from supporting Delmarva, now have to balance their selfish interests against those needs of their constituents who are having trouble paying their electric bills.

Some brief words were spoken for the passage of the bill, and Gary Stockbridge was the sole person speaking to have it killed by the committee.

What is interesting it that the battle has moved from wind versus coal, gas, or other carbon sources, to wind versus wind. As Delmarva was forced against its will to investigate the positive benefits of wind, they too came to realize that wind is and will be an important part of America’s energy future. It is inevitable. It will come to pass. Long gone were the cries of just last year, over whether man-made global warming exists; except for one kook in Sussex County, global warming is now universally accepted……

The argument made by Gary was that we should be determining whether our wind power should be supplied locally by Bluewater WInd, off the coast of Rehoboth, or by Pepco’s own windfarms being purchased and built on top the ridges of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia…..Obviously they would like to keep the profit to themselves, now that they have found how lucrative it can be…….

The bids for land based wind power are still locked up in Delmarva’s coffers. But insiders who have seen some of the bids say they range from $5 to $11 dollars per megawatt. The current contract for Bluewater Wind is locked at 10.93 dollars per megawatt.

This is their cost and does not get passed on to consumers. Why? Because under the PJM rules all Pepco has to do to set the rate, is bid their high priced natural gas to push the hours allotment over the anticipated amount. All power for that hour is charged the rate of the last bid that reaches that line. What that means is that if Pepco, by controlling all aspects of energy production can, by selling a gas turbine fired electricity at 20 cents per kilowatt hour, take the 20 cents charge, passing it onto you, even though 99.9% of the power used that hour was generated at 5 cents, giving them a 300% profit…..

But, like their Y2K electric bills, is this just another sham?

Perhaps….my sources did not let me see the bids…but if they are based on REC’s being purchased to meet the renewable allotment, then there is a good chance that we are being schmoosed.

Gary mentioned that electricity is like the air we breath. Electricity added to the grid in Illinois is the same as that added to the grid off Rehoboth. It was a shame he used that metaphor, for it caused me to ponder those facts, except I saw them from a different perspective.

In a physical sense, it is. Electricity is the gift of God. It is found spiraling around every atom from Hydrogen to Ununoctium (not yet discovered,… maybe). Where your electrons came from is undeterminable. Like a paper cup stabbed with pencils, one needs to add water at the same rate of speed it leaks out. Whether that water came from an Artesian Well, Hoopes’ or Newark’s reservoir, or pumped out of the Christiana River, it all looks the same coming out of your faucet…….

But lets expand that analogy, for it makes a big difference in whether Gary’s supposition (forgive the pun) holds water or not.

Now lets assume that the Christiana River was the dirtiest and most polluted of all your sources. If you lived close by that outtake plant off Smalley’s Dam Road, there is a good chance that most of your water would come from that source, even though all the water companies in this area are interconnected…..The possibility exists that there could be some White Clay Creek Water or pine scented water from Hoopes reservoir blended in, but barring shortages, the water closest to your house, would flow through your pipes.

Now suppose you had a chance to have a well dug in your neighborhood and the water was much healthier. You could actually anticipate the crisp, clear taste, devoid of the usual hard PCB’s that made your pasta taste funny……but your utility company said no. They could build three wells in Chateau Country that would do the same thing, and do it cheaper. All the water is connected they told you at every public meeting each time you attempted to engage them.

Yes it is connected, but it is not the same. Gary was correct but wrong in his implication. Electricity IS like the air we breathe. Some of it is better in certain locations than others. Putting a renewable option here in close proximity, will make a difference in our air, water, and overall state run economics. Standing next to someone who spoiled their pants is far different than standing intimately close to someone wearing Britney Spears new fragrance…..( no it is not toxic). Likewise, you can catch a cold from someone sharing the same air as you, but you can’t catch one from someone coughing in Illinois.

If Delaware needs 300 MW and Bluewater can supply 450 MW, there WILL BE less emissions landing on top of Sussex County.

Conversely, if Delaware needs the same 300MW and we don’t have wind blowing offshore, NRG will have to go full power. The Pennsylvania and West Virginia power plants may throttle back….(see less coal is being burned somewhere), but cough, cough, hack, hack………it just doesn’t help us now, does it.

Gary’s argument this entire year has not been about costs and benefits. It is strictly about maintaining his monopoly. They are scared they are going to have to face some competition. When you control all the angles, as did Enron in California during the blackout phase, you can manipulate the outcome to your direct advantage….Of course we have to pay 60% more for the privilege of your doing so, but that…. is the market place. If Bluewater by signing this deal, can stabilize a portion of that price to 9.89 cents per kilowatt hour, then Pepco’s charging us 20 cents and justifying it, becomes a little harder……….

“Electricity is like the air,” Gary said before the Delaware House Committee of Energy. Indeed it is…..And as evidenced by the tremendous amounts of testimony provided at every public hearing, including the brief comments made yesterday afternoon,…….Delawareans prefer their local air to be clean…..even at a cost….as opposed to air whose particles once breathed, can one day………kill you.

Wind power for Dummies

Myths and Mothballs:

There are several myths out there that need debunked in order to have a clear understanding of offshore wind.

We will start with the first which goes right to the heart of why we have a handful of legislators blocking Bluewater from going through.

For reference here is the copy of the Act that started it all. If you could, click in and check out the co-sponsors of that bill. More about them later.

What about SEU as an option to drive down demand and lower prices?

Many answers to your questions can be found here, in the report to Governor Minner that predated the passage of House Bill 6, the EURCSA. The clarity of the report, ie how well it was written, can be demonstrated by the signing by the Governor on the day the act cleared the last hurdle in the General Assembly. In other words, after reading this comprehensive report, there were no other questions. Essentially this report is the equivalent of a State of the State Address on Energy Affairs, and until now, has been seen by only a handful of people.

First some background. One can understand Delmarva’s motives better if one understands how they get paid. Here is how their price structure works. There are different costs depending on which fuels are used. Nuclear is cheapest, although offshore wind may be a close second, then comes coal, and finally natural gas. Under current PJM rules (the local grid which sets both pricing and the rules for that pricing) the price that is set for the next hours fuel, is based on the price of the last bid that meets the demand set for that hour.

Let’s say the hour’s demand is anticipated to be 600 MW’s. Nuclear provides 300MW quite cheaply, and coal provides 275 at slightly more. There is still a deficit of 25MW’s that need to be acquired to meet the goal set. Gas bids on the remaining 25MW’s and since that is the bid that pushes it over the top, that is the price for all energy from all sources for that hour. That means gas gets a fair profit. Coal and nuclear get a windfall of tremendous profit since they cost far less than gas to generate electricity.

Back in the olden days, under regulation, nuclear was guaranteed a fair profit, coal was guaranteed a fair profit, and likewise gas, based on the costs of both fuel and operating expenses. You added those up together, and you get cheaper than we pay now.

Energy Prices Before and After Deregulation
Imagine standing in a line at Wal*Mart where the rules dictated that whatever the last person paid for everything in his cart, everyone else paid. Of course if someone was buying a box of tissues, we with full shopping carts would hand our receipts to the door checker while smiling….real big. But imagine if Wal*Mart got to determine who was the last person to stand in that line? Incredibly they would always placed someone with the most expensive items they could find to shore up that cart…..Bet you that tissue buyer wasn’t smiling this time as he left the store?

Again before deregulation, if our price was based more on old style economics, Delmarva got a percentage over whatever was its cost for making our electricity…..So with deregulation, we lost out.

Along with deregulation came the divestiture by Delmarva of all its generating producing facilities. Connectiv kept them, and Delmarva became nothing more than a broker. Before deregulation we paid lower costs because Delmarva actually produced and charged us cost plus percentage, which was closely regulated by the Public Service Commission. Now for all our electrical needs, we pay whatever the high price of gas determines, no matter where our energy would come from…including wind farms in Pennsylvania. Even though that wind farm might generate energy at 2.3 cents per MW, we would still have to pay the frozen winter spiked gas price of 23 cents per MW, with someone within the PJM grid keeping the difference. That by the way is why Stockbridge insists on Pennsylvania wind farms.

Bluewater would change all that. Under contract Bluewater Wind would supply a regulated rate to Delmarva, one regulated for twenty five years. This rate would not be manipulated by the PJM. This means Delmarva over the course of twenty five years could stand to lose billions, which of course would then remain right in our wallets where, since we are the ones paying them,… it belongs.

Trust me. Delmarva still stands to make a lot on selling us Bluewater’s Wind. They just can’t gouge us as much as they had anticipated once deregulation took effect. How much do they intend to raise prices? Just look at the 59% increase in 06 if you want proof for your answer. Which is why Delmarva is acting like a recalcitrant groom who pines for his future bride’s booty, without having to commit to anything in order to get it.

A third issue that forces up our rates, is interestingly enough, our geography. We are Delmarva, a long skinny peninsula with few transmission access points. Compared to a land-based market with thousands of interconnecting points surrounding it, we have but a few. That adds costs because a lot of energy is taken up and lost as heat. As much as 7 to 10 percent of electricity is lost over transmission. Since our peninsula has lots of distance top to bottom, we lose a lot. This can be fixed with a generation facility off the coast of Rehoboth. Supplying the Middle of Delmarva with less cost and more efficiency, means at least for that sector, their overall cost could drop 7 to 10 percent. That means a household paying $200 a month in summer, will be paying $180 instead, just by cutting down on transmission costs. So instead of paying Delmarva, you can afford an additional 6 and a half gallons of gasoline…..Wow. (I’d still rather have it in gasoline.)

Thus there were three reasons prices jumped with deregulation. One, PJM uses the most expensive form of energy to price the whole lot; two, Delmarva became solely a broker, divesting its generating capacity; and three, our geography conspires against us in long transmission lines from the source to the power receiver.

So now we are ready for our question:

What about SEU as an option to drive down demand and lower prices?

What is the SEU and how does it have anything to do with energy prices? Here is a copy of the meeting minutes last February just as wind power was getting under way. Again, pay attention to the list of players near the top. Who was that new member? A test will be given at the end…….

On principal the SEU is a good idea.

Just to Show You Saving On Demand is Not Just Chump Change

By making several technological boosts thorough out every household or small business in Delaware, the demand, or the amount of energy required to be supplied to Delaware, will be reduced. This is good for cutting down the amount of energy and green house gases, but does not have sufficient clout to pull down prices.

One could compare it to buying a Prius and hoping gasoline drops back to $2. As you use less, the price climbs higher so you are still paying the same to fill your tank, only now using less. Of course you would pay a lot more if you drove a 67 Camaro so there is some incentive for upgrading to a more efficient vehicle. But thinking that prices will always stay the same because of what we purchase, won’t happen. However if everyone follows suit, then some leverage can indeed be made on price, as actually happened during the nineties as cars became much more fuel efficient. Then some knucklehead came up with gas eating SUV’s. Why not? Gas was under a dollar. A fifty dollar fill-up? No problem.

The only thing that brings actual prices down when dealing with a monopoly is competition. Having Bluewater sell electricity using new technology at prices lower than that of Carbon fuels, with or without a Carbon tax in place, keeps the price lower on the supplier side. The best scenario for Delaware is to pursue both plans simultaneously. Build a wind farm off the coast, and provide energy efficient incentives to every Delawarean. Do both!

It is ironical that individual legislators who sponsor the SEU package, are the very ones holding up the Bluewater deal, which provides the same benefit to Delaware consumers: lower energy bills, less carbon dioxide, less toxic pollution.

A one-two punch using two types of technologies would go a long way to insulate Delaware from the tidal wave of Carbon fueled high prices.

Our states long term goal, needs to include both cutting down our usage, or demand for energy, and for what little energy needs we have leftover, supply them with as much offshore wind as is possible.

We have this ideal scenario almost in the palm of our hand with only a handful of legislators blocking the way………….

courtsey of DOD
Courtesy of Department of Defense

Seems to be a quiet week in blogger land, at least in Delaware. Perhaps everyone is resting for the high intensity moments arriving exactly a week away, in the special election to fill the seat of Jim Vaughn. The wind controversy gears up tomorrow as well when the letters released today become public. (I had better hurry, it’s out now.)

Delaware Liberal: Although headaches are usually bad, it looks like one spared Jason from an even bigger headache caused by one snooze of a Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Bottom line: it does not look good for John Carney. His association with Minner is too hard to disconnect. Like a Siamese twin, he is attached at the hip. DWA and a comment provide more insight. But to stop a blogger from live blogging, now that IS bad……..
Sorry John.

However Joanne Christian, (Dave’s girl) politically speaking, actually spoke to Jason 330, a brave act for a Republican. I think it speaks highly of her character and courage that she did. I don’t think I would have the guts to do so; (especially if I had to wear a dress). Has Ennis sat down with Frank Knotts, in a dress? No?

Perhaps I was looking for more local opinions facing those living in that area, but Jason’s interview was a good start. Perhaps light can be shed on whether the interview was carefully screened by Dave while live, or screened by Jason during editing. For me it did not answer enough questions such as: How do you feel about Bluewater Wind’s proposal? How do you feel about funding SCHIPS to 300% poverty level. How do you feel about requiring the Bond Bill and Budget to be available for public scrutiny at least three days before it is voted upon? How do you feel about funding charter schools, or at least allowing them to borrow money to continue their existence? Do you think and would you support, keeping committees and caucuses open under FOIA and would you support Karen Peterson’s Bill as is, next year? Where do you draw the line between the rights of developers and the rights of current residents of a locality. Which of their sides will you favor?

Not to dis the interview. But with only a week away, these questions have not been answered, by EITHER CANDIDATE!!!!!!

Dana hints of this by calling Bruce Ennis on his “Tricky Dick” defense. Is it just me, or is Dana attempting subliminal electioneering. Tricky Dick…..B. Ennis……Tricky Dick ……B. Ennis….

What does that say about us as Delawareans? What does that say about us a bloggers? How dare we have the right to complain later once the election is over, when we can’t even get information out to voters to make even an educated guess as to how the candidate will vote next general assembly.

Perhaps there is no discussion because it is already common knowledge and I was out that day and missed it. If so, sorry. But from my searches, we have much more available to us today about the Millsboro election last spring. The really big question is: do voters have adequate access to facts to make informed choices?

No offense intended to fellow bloggers. Just addressing the fact that there is a 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Almost to prove the point, we had our own version of a early morning CBS/Bob Barker game show, titled ……”Who Stole The Sign ?…..” Again sign vandalism is important, only for the fact that it pushes real discussion off the front page…..

Bounce back: Delaware Liberal, at least it founder Jason 330, throws his support for Bruce Ennis here. This is the first informative piece of information on either candidate so far. Hat’s off for doing so. Bruce has a lot going in his favor. I just don’t know how he will vote on the issues I and my neighbors think are important. Has he, as of yet, distanced himself from Joe Hurley??? Inquiring minds want to know…….

Liberalgeek (Welcome Back: this time I know our side will win.) writes about Health Insurance invoking one of the greatest movies made during the Bush Administration’s tenure: The Incredibles. It is a must read as we consider how our Health Care should evolve after 08.

FSP surprised everyone by changing his banner. He says it was for fall, but speculation abounds that since Mitt Romney did not show up in a knit sweater at the top of his website, something else is afoot. Dave has allowed the speculation to continue by not reiterating his avid support for this year’s Bob Dylan candidate. Also at FSP, one of their crowd tries to mimic Dean, but instead creepily reminds one of the movie Deliverance.

A must read at FSP is this post by the other David, David Anderson which shows that cheap sources of energy and its environmental effects are far too serious of a solution, to be played with by wannabe career politicians…..As someone once said, based on the term paper given by Bluewater Wind, “For twenty five years, we will pay less for electric, than twenty states now…” When it comes to Delaware’s competitive economic future, a fixed cost for energy from wind, cheaper for twenty five years than twenty states offer now, would certainly not hurt…..I wish that in 1982, during Reagan’s first term off-election year, someone had the foresight to lock US into a price of gasoline that was cheaper than twenty states paid then……I believe it was somewhere around $1.30? Hat’s off to David. (Proves what I have always said: being wrong on tax policy does not make you wrong on everything.)

DWA has this important Public Service announcement. I wish I could provide the irritating Comcast siren sound as it does for weather watches, but I was unable to keep the link formated from going 401. Consider yourself spared.( It was pretty cool while it lasted, if your geek age was 6 or under). His distinctive glasses……that should give him away. We’ve never seen him in contacts…..

Cathcart is in a tizzy over missing another Public Service Announcement. Actually the comments here are insightful, should you be somewhat historical and interested in the Atkins Affair.

DWA also provides significant background on what will become a big story now that the PSC has changed tack on the Wind Farm, and that is the influence of one shadowy Joe Hurley. His play-book was leaked on line here.…..

Dana provides his take on Bidens comments. But as Loudell comments, the timing was all wrong………Dana however goes mainstream this week, landing a televised appearance on WHYY. It is about time they put some “learned” people on some of their panels. If WHYY keeps continuing to use bloggers, I may watch more often. Prior to this, their panels supported the Incumbent Party of Delaware.

Kilroy takes an educational piece of legislation in New Jersey, and turns it into a damning indictment of educating by rules. When will they realize student learn by teaching? He also shows us a seagull just before it gets killed by an offshore wind farm….

Jerry shows us that all the news about the Bush Administration is NOT bad. Painstakingly he has done the opposite of what critics accuse the MSM of doing: showing only the dark side…….

Nancy continues to focus on Delaware’s local politics. Working stories in both MOT and Sussex County, she has two controversies that have one thing in common: DELDOT. FSP tries to pin the latter on Minner. Why do they blame men and not nature when Democrats are involved, and then turn around and blame Nature when republicans are involved?

As if to prove a point I made earlier today, the the Main Stream Media is alienating itself from both the right and left at the same time, The Colossus of Rhody does his take on how the media is favoring Democrats. But try finding anything negative about Cheney, even read glowing reports excusing his shooting someone full of bird shot…..It’s republican control, I tell you……

For fans of his global warming posts he has this take. He also noticed as did I back in September while looking for one Israeli airbase, that using Google Earth to target missiles into Israel would be a bad idea. It appears it may also be a bad idea to go door to door this Halloween should you happen to live in an area where they kill people.

Most importantly to fellow bloggers as well as any new entrant into our small world, is

Your [un]abashedly thorough guide to the Delaware blogosphere!

Where do you stand? I have to agree with his perceptions and good taste, (example: Dave Burris is the right’s answer to Dana Garrett and Mike Matthews) except to note he definitely overrates this humble blog

That is probably the best news on our local scene. There are some things that should not be missed. Laugh now, for next week between wind and an election, we will all be very serious indeed….Matt Marshall at the Soapbox found something that at least describes me, and may apply to some of you as well. Duffy has some profound items here at Pencader Days. Bingo anyone?. The Fantastic Forefathers almost fill in for Hube’s lack of Marvel cartoon commentary…….

Update: And I almost missed it in my hurry to revisit the formula I footage I previewed last week. But my vote for the best post this week goes here, and if there was anyone who drives blogger’s ire more then Minner, then it may be this local hero. There are a lot of funnies on Delaware’s blog scene, but Duffy had me rolling on the floor. (Warning: appreciation of fine writing, with special expertise in sarcasm, required for first time viewing.)

Mikes Musings left his usual laid back comfortable mood on all who dropped in this week. As Delaware’s photographer laureate, at least in volume, we understand how special this state is, or was before the wind blew…..

Shirley, our cantankerous Curmudgeon, leads with Ron Paul’s assessment of our future relations with Cuba. As usual, he makes more sense than the usual prattle echoing off the walls of congressional committee walls. Again like Dorothy in Jerry McGuire, he has me here: “It’s time to stop talking solely in terms of what’s best for the Cuban people. How about the wishes of the American people, who are consistently in favor of diplomacy with Cuba ?” She follows with three more Ron Paul articles, then does a dust up of FSP, which may not get the coverage it deserves….especially this line which if I were not genetically programed to cause salacious trouble, I would leave unpublished……(I can’t help it….The Rockies lost…and it’s Mischief Night!!! ) The line was this: “Now, I don’t know FSP, but this reply sort of sounded like this to me: “Now, now there honey, don’t worry your purty little head about setch and setch. Leave it to the menfolk, darlin’, and grab me a beer. “

Poor Dave. He’s done it now…… But nothing defeats a hearty laugh like bad economic news. And sometimes enjoying the fruits of life requires a momentary lapse of facing reality. Alan Coffey uses the Digital Federalist to profile an article that should give every American pause, if they can pull themselves away from “Dancing With the Stars” long enough. Tough times, are coming. Many will not pay their mortgages. Such sullen news brings the phrase: “There, but for God, go I.”
What is interesting to the local scene, is that the company profiled in the article, Goldman Sachs, tends to be the consulting firm whenever one considers privatizing Delaware’s or any other state’s toll roads…….scary……….

And since tomorrow is Halloween I must, in deference to Jason330, end with something scary…After all, it is Halloween. As I struggled to figure out what was the scariest scenario with which I could close this post, I had to choose between Freddy Kruger, The Scream, Ghosts, Skeletons, Jabba the Hut, it was a complicated choice, involving the search of many images. And after much thought, and frightful consideration, I finally settled on this, which at least for Delawareans, would be the scariest thing possible……Happy Halloween…..

Nancy informs us that the purpose of the infamous letter sent to Larson, ordering him to report back to Copeland so he may be instructed to vote the way Copeland wants him to, was to provide a check and a balance to this energy generative process. This would actually be a good tactic, if it were some sneaky land grab (eminent domain?) being performed in the darkness without oversight. But that is exactly what this is not.

What we are witnessing as we go forward with the Blue Water Wind proposal, is an extremely rare case where the People’s will, though public hearings and wide public support, actually triumphs over those wills of the special interests, in an event that has profound economic implication for every Delawarean man, woman, and child…..

Like roaches finding themselves exposed by the flick of a switch, the special interests are scurrying for cover in the light of public scrutiny. Imagine to your surprise, if in your kitchen, one roach stood up to you and said……”Aw, don’t mind us, ma’am………We were just checking your room over to insure it was immaculately clean. We are here to help you.”

If you were a columnist and worked for the News Journal, you just might believe that little bugger. But most discerning minds would remain skeptical. As equally skeptical as if they heard this from a representative ordering the controller to get his marching orders from him……..

“”We ought to let private investors compete against one another to get us the best price point and price stability. I think the marketplace would do that better than some regulatory regime,” Copeland said. He said he wants to make sure low-income residents can afford wind power.”

Copeland doesn’t know what he is talking about. Notice how his statements of fact always begin with the phrase “I think”? Well, I hate to break to you Charlie, but we really do not care WHAT YOU THINK. We care what the evidence supports. Every criminal says he is innocent. But if the preponderance of the evidence is against him, than twelve impartial jurors pronounce him guilty…..

Let us examine evidence that supports his following statement.

“I think the marketplace would do that better than some regulatory regime,”

Let’s go personal…I won’t answer this one;….it is for you the reader to decide…..Do you prefer the Charlie Copeland’s vision of deregulated, marketplace driven rates we pay today, or the regulated rates that existed before May 2006? Be honest now…

Secondly, lets see what deregulation has done next door in Maryland. Remember “deregulation” is Copeland’s mantra. For those of you who do not know, Maryland pulled a Delaware on June 1st, 2007 and their rates jumped 50%. (Can anyone tell me why, since we buy off the same grid, that Delmarva passed on to us a 60% increase, and Maryland only pays 50%? Who is pocketing the extra 10%? …….Charlie???) Here is a nice page provided by the Baltimore Sun with 37 links that give one a good overview of how Copeland’s type of deregulation is faring in actual practice. Don’t take my word for it, here are a few examples. I dare you to find anyone over there right now who echoes, “”I think the marketplace would do that better than some regulatory regime.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley asked the Public Service Commission yesterday to investigate whether the wholesale rates for electricity in Maryland exceed federal standards for reasonableness, echoing an action in Illinois that helped lead to a $1 billion rate rebate for customers there

Why did Copeland not write this type of a letter if he were truly concerned about poor persons affording electricity, especially since it was pointed out last May that Delmarva was charging far more than surrounding states? Instead he attacks the one hope that Delaware’s citizens have, to return energy prices back to normalcy? Hmmm. Is he really concerned about Delaware’s citizens?

Here is another one, this one affecting Pepco, the holding company of Delmarva Power.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said yesterday that eliminating the link between power companies’ profits and the amount of energy they distribute – a plan recently approved for Pepco, the Washington-area utility – could be one of the most effective strategies for reducing electricity bills across Maryland”

It becomes obvious that Delmarva, due precisely to the weak regulatory power of this state, is the profit cash cow for the entire Pepco holding company, who is being severly regulated elsewhere to charge less then excessive rates to our neighbors. We pay higher rates then most, solely to increase Pepco’s profit margins, and help pay for executives bonuses.

Another commentary:

Gov. Martin O’Malley, questioning whether the relationship between BGE and its corporate parent has unfairly contributed to higher electric rates, has asked the Public Service Commission to hold expedited hearings on whether the company should be broken up and whether the utility’s 1.1 million customers should receive rebates.

I am really beginning to like this guy. I know Minner has no balls, but someone in this state could step up, don’t you think? Thank heavens we have John Kowolko.

Finally, in the argument between which is better, a regulated utility or one operating independently to maximize its profit, comes this nugget:

As a public utility, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is obligated to get the lowest price possible for customers. By contrast, its corporate owner, Constellation Energy Group, has a duty to stockholders to sell the power it produces for as much as it can get.”

This is the battle we face. 94 percent of Delaware wants to go forward with wind to get the lowest price possible for customers, especially if health, environmental, and insurance costs are factored in to the equation. Charlie Copeland wants to scuttle the Blue Water Wind proposal so that his client, Delmarva, can sell the power it produces for AS MUCH AS IT CAN.

So there you have it. In Charlie’s own words, he thinks “I think the marketplace would do that better than some regulatory regime.”

Right Charlie, you still don’t get it. We are concerned with OUR interests, not Delmarva’s. Duh.

Last February, as the wind movement was picking up steam, Charlie Copeland made a strange statement supporting Delmarva power. Due to the public outcry at the time, he pulled back into his shell, and has been curled up there until now.

Sensing that it again was safe to stick his head out, he and a group of fellow legislators often seen with ring-in-nose tied to Delmarva’s Gary Stockbridge, have again tried to disrupt Delaware’s quest for energy independence. In a letter to Russel Larson, who serves as comptroller general, Copeland tries to intimidate with the following words. Pay attention to the tone:

that before you cast a final vote binding the GENERAL ASSEMBLY, you are obligated to return to the GENERAL ASSEMBLY for instructions as to how the GENERAL ASSEMBLY wishes to vote on the matter in question.

Sounds reasonable, so let is see what the law says, you know, House Bill No. 6, that I believe has Harris McDowell’s name on the sponsor list…..Fancy that.

So what exactly did the General Assembly pass into law that fateful day when they voted for House Bill No. 6 and started us down the hopeful path to a Blue Water Wind Farm off Rehoboth Beach?

Here is a copy for those purists who enjoy following along.

In my search I found absolutely no explicit instructions resembling those mentioned in the letter. In fact, the letter itself may be illegal because in itself, it violates the spirit of the law that was passed by a majority of the General Assembly. I certainly do not expect bumbling legislators to be held accountable for trying various options, (that is often what we ask them to do), but should they continue to attempt work against letter of the law, there is excellent ground for those forces supporting Blue Water Wind, to file a lawsuit restraining those perpetrators from doing so.

The law is clear. All power was given to the Public Service Commission to make the necessary actions. The General Assembly, almost acted as if it did not trust its own various elements of its own body, once the process was begun. The General Assembly passed the bill, and then washed its hands right afterwards. From the language of the Bill, it is quite clear that there was to be no wiggle room for lobbyists, at some future date, to change at whim this bill, once it had passed both houses and been signed into law by the governor…..

In Section 6, we see this:

(b) Subject to the approval of the Commission, the Standard Offer Service Provider to meet its electric supply requirements shall have the ability to:

“(1) enter into short- and long-term contracts for the procurement of power necessary to serve its customers; (2) own and operate facilities for the generation of electric power; (3) build generation and transmission facilities (subject to any other requirements in any other section of the Delaware Code regarding siting, etc.) (4) make investments in Demand-Side resources, and (5) take any other Commission-approved action to diversify their retail load. “

Obviously the same power that the commission holds over Delmarva in controlling its rates, also was intended to apply in the search for alternative sources of electrical generation.

Here is how one aspect of rate determination will be handled by the Public Service Commission:

“the Commission shall hold an evidentiary hearing on DP&L’s request and shall approve the request if the Commission finds that such action is in the public interest. If the Commission approves such a request, the Commission shall review all reasonable incurred costs of the contracts, facilities or programs in accordance with Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of this Title. Costs from these projects which have been approved by the Commission shall be included in Standard Offer Service rates.”

So sets up this next statement. Obviously the crafters of the House Bill 6 and all those that enacted it into law, intended the Public Service Commission to independently search, find, explore, publicize, vet, and decide what was best for the citizens of Delaware. Here is the proof:

“3. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate any rules and regulations it deems necessary to accomplish the development of IRPs by DP&L.

There is no mention anywhere that anyone is:

“obligated to return to the GENERAL ASSEMBLY for instructions as to how the GENERAL ASSEMBLY wishes to vote on the matter in question.

As we have seen, the above statement is in direct violation of the law passed in 2006. But if one probes hard and deep enough, he comes across this one line which mentions any reporting back to any government agency other than the Public Service Commission:

“Commencing in 2009, DP&L shall submit a report to the Commission, the Governor and the General Assembly detailing their progress in implementing their IRPs.”

There you have it. The only fingerhold within this bill that Copeland and Co. have a chance to disrupt the windfarm from going forward, says specifically, “IN 2009″ and ” D,P & L” (Delmarva) shall submit a report, letting them know how they are progressing, not Russell Larson.

The Delmarva posse has been exposed by the words of House Bill 6 itself. It is now clear to all that there is no legitimacy in the blatant attempt by a disfranchised minority leader to disrupt the natural trend of events, already set in motion by “the Commission“, which was, and still is solely responsible for finding, abetting, and approving Delaware’s future energy supply.

It would certainly be fitting if Delaware’s voters would remember in 2008 exactly who tried to set up Delmarva to rape them again a second time. If “politicians” are going to act “stupid”, they should be accountable to the price, right?

For the record:

Harris B. McDowell, III
State Senate, 1st District
Robert L. Venables
State Senate, 21st District
Charles L. Copeland
State Senate, 4th District
Gregory F. Lavelle
State Representative, 11th District
Gerald W. Hocker
State Representative, 38th District
Hazel D. Plant
State Representative, 2nd District

Obviously Delaware can do better.