By Peter-Raymond Graffeo, Alliance for Affordable Energy
The AAE Consumer Protection Report focuses on the best and worst practices of consumer protections provided by utility companies. These protections are essential for low income and minority households that struggle to meet the economic burden of rising utility costs.
The report compares seven State’s consumer protections with what the National Consumer Law Center recommends for such protections, with a special focus on Louisiana. Specifically, the report focuses on seven consumer protections: weather, critical medical conditions, elderly and handicap, veterans, service disconnection restrictions, social service payment customers, and miscellaneous protections. Additionally, for convenience, all State consumer protections have been added to the end of each section in a chart.
After analyzing each category, AAE believes that significant reform is needed to meet the National Consumer Law Center’s base-line recommendations. Ultimately, when considering the vulnerability of many Louisiana residents, stronger protections are needed to ensure families are protected from the disproportionate economic and health impacts associated with disconnections.
The Japanese knew about tsunamis long ago, but a few of them seem to have forgotten. The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai. (Printed from 1731-1734, public domain.)
Before we allow small modular reactors, mini reactors on barges, reactors for making hydrogen, reactors to be set up on the Moon, or just about any nuclear reactors to be built, we should get an explanation from the nuclear industry of why some of its calculations have been so bad. I am talking about numbers that are so bad, off by an order of magnitude, that they are functionally deceptive. And if they are not intentionally deceptive, that is not an excuse. They fool people into thinking things are true when they are not, and they are very much to the advantage of the nuclear industry.
Looking for a New Year's Resolution that's good for you and the environment? Well look no further. If you could power your entire home with 60 minutes of cycling, would you do it?
Imagine if your morning workout could power your home for the entire day, all the way until your next morning workout. Well, you may not have to imagine, as this technology exists now. Manoj Bhargava has invented a new exercise bike that can power some homes for 24 hours after use for only sixty minutes per day.
This invention was a part of a new initiative to bring electricity to places that undergo frequent power outages or may only have access to power for a few hours during the day. In our modern age, going without electricity can really separate a person from the rest of the world. Bhargava’s mission is to bridge the gap for those who suffer from poverty and make it easier for them to access the same information as the rest of the world, potentially giving them more opportunities in life.
Cancer Alley, climate advocates hold out hope for Rep. Richmond but 'can't be patient forever By Halle Parker
Photo by Chris Granger | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
With climate change high on President-elect Joe Biden's agenda, one might think local environmentalists would have high hopes for U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond’s ascent to the role of key White House adviser.
But the leaders of local environmental and citizen groups have tempered expectations, saying Richmond has been largely absent from conversations between activists and industry in his own district during his decade in Congress. Still, they're ready to give him the benefit of the doubt, for the time being, at least.
In the coming weeks, Richmond is expected to step down from his congressional seat — which includes most of New Orleans, part of Baton Rouge and some of the areas in between — to lead the Biden administration’s Office of Public Engagement.
As the lone Democrat in Louisiana's eight-member delegation, he has worked with his Republican colleagues on legislation surrounding flood insurance and coastal restoration funding. But he hasn't highlighted concerns about pollution or environmental racism, issues that matter greatly to some of his constituents.
They're hopeful, though, that Richmond's new perch will allow him to provide more vocal support and fill his seat with someone who will be a better advocate in environmental battles happening in the River Parishes.
A Cost-Saving Two-fer: Efficiency Reduces Total Electricity Needs & Peak Demand By The Electricity Markets & Policy Department at Berkeley Lab
Study by Natalie Mims Frick, Sean Murphy, Chandler Miller, Greg Leventis, Kristina Hamachi LaCommare, Charles A Goldman, Lisa C Schwartz
Article originally published by the Electricity Markets & Policy Department at Berkeley Lab
December 16 2020
Read more to learn about the findings on how peak demand savings vary by region and sector (low-income, residential, commercial & industrial, cross cutting)
Months ago the New Orleans City Council unanimously approved a resolution committing the City to 100% Net-Zero emissions by 2040, followed by actual zero emissions by 2050. Then the Council sent stakeholders back to the table to work out the details.
Now the Council is expected to take up a final renewable resolution in January 2021. So, what does the rule on the Council’s desks look like, and does it meet those top four goals laid out by the Council earlier this year? Here is the breakdown.
Image courtesy of source
As the temperature drops and we cozy in with our heaters going, those electric bills are going back up, but how does your bill in Baton Rouge compare with those in Shreveport? Where does New Orleans rank? Well, look no further than this handy-dandy spreadsheet! The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) compiles monthly bills from just about every electric utility across the state based on kWh usage. This spreadsheet is updated monthly, using the tabs at the bottom, making it easy to track changes. Whether that’s a new power plant going online, or hurricane charges rolling off, you can see how it all adds up.
We’ve posted the spreadsheets from 2019 and 2020 on our Bills & Economics page, and will continue to update those as we move into 2021. AND, once we get a little free time on our hands, we plan to dive into some of those bill components! Why does Entergy have so many ‘riders’? What is a ROE, and why is Cleco’s so high? Stay tuned friends, in the meantime you can read up on Why Utility Rate Design is So Hot Right Now.
Residents waiting to testify at the Louisiana Public Service Commission meeting on Sept. 11, 2019. Image source: The Center Square
Net-metering is a credit that people with solar panels get from their utility company for producing clean energy and delivering it to the grid. In September of 2019 the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) voted to end net metering for Louisianans, outside of New Orleans, in favor of 2-channel billing. Changes went into effect January 1, 2020, with a 15 year grandfathering clause. Unfortunately, these policy changes will work in favor of utilities rather than Louisiana customers as they will significantly reduce "the amount of savings your solar system will provide you."
Learn more about what these changes mean for you, your utility bill, and the future of net metering in this interesting article by Catherine Lane, originally published on Solar Reviews!
On November 9, the Louisiana Climate Task Force met for the first time, to begin to address the existential crisis that threatens Louisiana’s future. But climate change is not a far-off potentiality, it is here now, lapping at our shores and changing the way we live.
This task force must work together and with the people of our state, to lean into our expertise and to look to proven policies and technologies to reduce emissions and protect our coast.
Most importantly, the task force must center the people who make Louisiana so great.
Small businesses are closing up shop, unemployment rates are at an all time high and I’m buying tickets to virtual concerts in hopes of keeping my favorite music venues afloat. It’s no secret that we’re amid an economic recession, but which businesses are really struggling and what does it mean to be guaranteed a profit from the pockets of those that may not be able to keep a roof over their heads? Luckily, we had the perfect intern for that research question.
Customers still protected from Gas Plant rate hike
The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) was developed by Climate Action Network (USCAN) in May 2020. It was created over the course of a year, by a diverse team of 176 people from 106 organizations. The VECA platform draws attention not only to the urgency of the climate crisis, but also to the injustice created by climate change and the roadblocks preventing “effective responses” (p. 4). VECA puts forth policy solutions that take these factors into consideration so that we “act equitably and ambitiously to exceed the U.S. goals originally put forward in the Paris Climate Agreement” (p. 5).
When looking toward the future of climate change policy it can be helpful to reflect on the past. In 1999 AAE released The Louisiana Climate Report which reviewed evidence of Global Climate Change from the 1995 IPCC Report and identified five areas of risk for Louisiana - extreme weather, human health, agriculture, forestry, and coastal impacts. The report outlined and examined policy solutions and actions that could reduce or mitigate risks from Climate Change. While many of these solutions took a step in the right direction towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reports released more recently have raised the bar, highlighting problems with some of these ideas and suggesting better avenues to pursue.
Ongoing pandemic, economic collapse, lifting of eviction and utility shutoff moratoriums, ending of federal unemployment assistance, Black Lives Matter - my mind is spinning! There are literally fires to put out everywhere. But, simply putting them out is not going to solve the systematic problems that caused them. We need to dig deep into the unjust policies that got us here.
UPDATE: POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED
The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) finally made a decision regarding lifting the utility disconnect prohibition for LPSC jurisdictional customers. Here’s what you need to know.
We have been working hard to ensure protections in New Orleans (regulated by the NOLA City Council) and Louisiana (regulated by the LPSC). Here are all the updates since March!
City Council Puts Moratorium on Electricity Shutoffs Until July and Proposes $22 million Bill Assistance Program by Michael Isaac Stein
Councilwoman Helena Moreno at a December 2019 City Council meeting (Michael Isaac Stein/The Lens)
The New Orleans City Council voted on Thursday to prohibit Entergy New Orleans from disconnecting electricity services due to unpaid bills until July 1. The company had previously promised to suspend service disconnections until May 31. But Thursday’s resolution not only extends the moratorium, it changes it from an informal assurance to an enforceable regulation.
The resolution also sets up a process for Entergy New Orleans to start tracking expenses and lost revenues related to the coronavirus crisis. Utility regulators around the country have taken similar steps in anticipation that energy companies will be asking for bill hikes next year.
An illustration features one continuous blue line looping to form two overlapping hearts on the left side, then going on to form the outline of a factory with plumes of smoke billowing from smokestacks.
For women of color on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, everyday environmental and climate activism is entangled with intimate lives.
Author Frances Roberts-Gregory explores how women of color protect the environment and "navigate complex and at times contradictory relationships" with oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. She highlights the work of Gulf Coast "water protectors,” who "fight oil pipelines and improper disposal of industrial waste even when their kin and loved ones receive paychecks from these same industries."
Roberts-Gregory also reflects on her own journey as a climate activist and helps us understand the tension between the needs of the workers in the oil and gas industry and our expectation of industry change.
Several safeguards have been put in place across the country to prevent utility disconnects for non-payment during the Covid-19 pandemic. The most up to date list can be found at the Energy & Policy Institute’s website. Although this covers most of Louisiana, at least for 30 days, there are a handful of municipal utility providers across the state that have not implemented these protections, and we are calling on the Governor to take action.
++ PLUS a June 2020 Update! ++
According to an opinion poll commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a clear majority of New Orleans residents are supportive of a transition to 100% renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.
Exciting news for New Orleans Energy Efficiency! The City Council Utility Committee has approved robust and growing efficiency programs for the next three years. In December, Entergy New Orleans submitted its plan for Energy Smart to the NOLA City Council. The plan laid out two scenarios:
1) stick to the Council’s efficiency targets, set back in 2015
2) even MORE savings!
And the Council chose Scenario 2