Let power market help consumers
Just weeks after the agency responsible for the power grid covering Pennsylvania and 12 other states opposed an anti-consumer Department of Energy plan to help favored political interests, it has announced its own plans to bolster elements of the power industry at the expense of consumers.
The PJM Interconnection proposal would result in electricity price hikes of between 2 percent and 5 percent throughout its grid region, including Northeast Pennsylvania, covering 65 million people.
The earlier Trump administration proposal calls for consumers and taxpayers to subsidize the nuclear and coal power producers that have lost ground in the marketplace due to the rise of less expensive and, in the case of coal, cleaner natural gas. Under the guise of protecting the grid, the DOE plan would subsidize power producers that maintain 90-day supplies of coal or nuclear fuel.
Although the grid has infrastructure and technology issues, the power supply is not among them. There is a power surplus driving lower consumer prices.
The new PJM proposal also would protect the nuclear and coal industries from the marketplace. It would change pricing protocols so that coal and nuclear power generators can build their costs into the retail market price of electricity. In effect, it would establish above-market prices for generators that cannot meet the actual market price.