What’s worse than corporate interests cozying up to the legislature to secure protection and taxpayer handouts? A state-sanctioned monopoly doing that. Our environmental policy czarina Amy Oliver Cooke calls out Xcel and our state legislature for being BFFs (that’s Best Friends Forever for those of you without teenagers at home) in this new Environmental Policy blog post. Amy took a look at Xcel’s stance on the bills going through the legislature this year and found that essentially, whatever they oppose gets killed and whatever they support goes through. It’s as if lawmakers under the gold dome are playing the part of Jim Carrey in Yes Man. Whatever Xcel wants, it gets.
This means that us ratepayers are footing the bill for this love affair. When Xcel wants to squash bills that improve transparency or protect ratepayers, they simply give the word and it dies.
Most interesting are the 14 bills Xcel opposes, including pro-consumer legislation such as transparency on ratepayers’ energy bills and reducing energy costs through utilization of a “least cost principle.”… Under the leadership of Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch), the House has done its part by killing all seven bills Xcel opposed in that chamber, including HB 1240 which would have repealed Colorado’s carbon tax and restricted Xcel’s rate of return on capital construction.
The Senate under Democratic leader Brandon Shaffer isn’t any better. It has killed five Xcel-opposed bills, including the entirely too pro-consumer “least cost principle” bill. I have to wonder where the left is in all this. This whole Xcel situation reads like a lefty grievance report for cryin’ out loud. Big bad monopoly? Check. Massive profits? Check. Anti-consumer? Check. In bed with the legislature? Check. “Dirty” energy promotion? Check. Avoiding transparency? You betcha. Where are the cries for consumer protection? Do energy ratepayers not count? Regardless of the silence both sides seem to exhibit on this issue, you can be sure that we will stay on this fight. Check back regularly on our Environmental Policy blog where Amy Oliver Cooke and William Yeatman write regularly on state environment and energy issues. It’s probably the only place you’ll find news and meaningful commentary on this stuff.