In 2004, Pennsylvania passed the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS). Part of this legislation ordered the PUC to publish annual reports evaluating the AEPS, yet the PUC has not released this annual report since May 2008.
This is significant for two reasons 1) it’s mandated by law and 2) Pennsylvania’s policymakers are considering legislation that would increase the state’s AEPS – requiring utility companies purchase more electricity from alternative energy sources – raising electricity costs for taxpayers.
Rep. DePasquale made the statement “If the PUC’s not doing their annual reports I don’t believe that’s a reason not to move forward on the bill. I don’t think we should be waiting for the PUC to act to decide what the future of the state should be.”
However, the very purposes of the report are to evaluate how the AEPS is working, examine the costs associated with it, and recommend future policy changes. It is arrogant to think lawmakers can deciding whether the state’s AEPS should be increased – planning the state energy market for the future – without information how the current mandates are working.
In fact, the most recent PUC report explicitly states: “There should be no changes or improvements to the program at this time.” Additionally, the PUC estimates the annual cost of ownership for solar energy per kWh is over 700% more expensive than the cost of coal; wind is almost 23% more expensive than coal.
Retail energy suppliers will inevitably pass the additional costs on to the consumers as they are required to use more expensive alternative sources. That is why utility companies predict that increasing the alternative energy mandates will add between $9 billion and $12 billion to electricity costs by 2024.
It is foolish that legislators would overlook the importance of this report and disappointing that the PUC has refused to perform its duties mandated by state law.
Below is a memo sent by Nathan Benefield urging lawmakers to consider the implications of the missing AEPS report.