Monday, June 23, 2014

Bigger Energy Monopoly touted by Scott Walker.

Another Scott Walker victory?

Whew, just when we thought energy monopolies were going to lose their grip to the growing solar panel industry.

In what is already an unfair energy marketplace, Wisconsinites who don’t have a choice in who they buy energy from are about to see "competition" decline even further.

In a press release touting “superior service” and “competitive pricing,” Wisconsin Energy is about to become the 8th largest natural gas distributor in the country. Doesn't sound competitive to me. Just as disturbing, Wisconsin Energy will now control the big transmission line bully of the state, ATC.

At a time when utility companies are losing money to customers switching to solar panels, this merger sounds like a preemptive move to stop or slow down legislatively any attempt to compensate rate payers for producing their own energy. With monopoly size comes lobbying power.

The following hyperbolic announcement is just so much smoke being blown up our ass:
Wisconsin Energy to acquire Integrys Energy Group for $9.1 billion … creating a leading Midwest electric and gas utility … Larger, more diverse regulated utility company with the financial strength and technical depth to meet customers' future energy needs; creates 8th largest natural gas distribution company in America … to maintain high levels of reliability and improve customer service … the combined company will hold a 60 percent stake in American Transmission Co.
Words like “regulated” and supposed “competitive pricing” are already a part of the messaging campaign:
Gale Klappa, chairman and CEO of Wisconsin Energy said, "We believe this combination provides a unique opportunity to create the premier regulated utility system in the Midwest, with superior service and competitive pricing for years to come.
The merger has yet to be approved.

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