To the Editor: BG should be more transparent about city electricity sources
Written by Karen Wood   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:39
As BG residents and customers of BG Municipal Utilities, we are concerned about the rate increases to our electric bills announced by the City in a letter to BG rate-payers. This letter did not adequately justify the rate increases and it failed to mention that a large fraction of our electricity (currently 37%, but planned to be 50%) is coming from Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC), a huge coal-burning plant built by the giant coal company Peabody Energy. Everyone should know that the City is now part owner of PSEC and BG rate-payers are obligated to pay off that investment for many years to come.
Our research shows that Peabody marketed the coal-generated electricity from PSEC to Ohio cities and towns at a cost of $48/MWh for 2013, arguing this rate would be better than rates dictated by market prices. However, we are now paying much more than that rate. In 2013 we paid between $63/MWh and $166/MWh (average over the year of $89/MWh) for PSEC power, more than double the market price. Moreover, PSEC went more than $1 billion over budget and has had serious operating problems ever since it went online in 2012. As a result, the plant produces electricity at a decreased capacity, so BG needs to buy additional electricity from other sources at the market prices that we wanted to avoid in the first place.
Peabody is also under federal investigation for possible fraud regarding how the Prairie State project was marketed to cities like BG.
We ask City Council and our mayor Richard Edwards, as our elected representatives, to clarify the true cost of each source of electricity that makes up a typical rate-payer's electric bill. We ask for greater transparency: The City should provide each month, on its website, a detailed breakdown of the source and actual cost of all electricity it purchases. Our research suggests the recently announced increases will not be the last, unless we come to grips with the true costs of Prairie State electricity. Therefore, we ask the City Council and Mayor to join other municipal officials across Ohio in requesting that the Ohio Attorney General investigate possible malfeasance in how Peabody marketed the Prairie State coal plant to Ohio communities.
Todd Childers, Sarah Cohen, Joe DeMare, Christina Guenther, Beatrice Guenther, Jennifer Karches, Neocles Leontis, Vassiliki Leontis, Lisa Kochheiser,

Karen Wood                 
Bowling Green
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:41

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