Public Service Commission mtg June 26, 2012
Amazing - in my relatively short tenure as a TEA party observer at the weekly PSC meetings, for the third time, a small motor carrier has been refused a service certificate because they could not adequately prove to the Commission that the proposed service in Billings cannot be supplied by existing competitors and that their new business would not hurt competitors - totally contrary to basic free enterprise principles. The Commission agreed that the state statute requiring such action by the Commission was - quote "absurd", but they had not option. Later in the meeting it was debated wether or not to submit proposed changes to the Legislature to remedy this injustice - the stumbling block was the perceived taking of value from existing certificate holders by issuing additional certificates.........the liqour licence conundrum? The PSC voted to not pursue any attempt to remedy this "absurdity".
If wind energy is assigned a capacity value then why shouldn't solar energy. The point is well taken, but in my opinion, neither can or should receive a capacity value - neither can be scheduled and therefore by utility definition cannot be considered capacity - a wind turbine is not "capable" (having the capacity to) of producing electrical energy if the wind is not blowing as plainly as a solar farm cannot produced rated energy levels if the sun is not shining!!
A lot of PSC time is taken up with utility "tracker" issues .........approving adjustments to prevailing rates to offset over or under collections for the products from the Commission approved rate schedules.
The federal government (FCC) is insisting that they are not trying to control telecommunications rates in intrastate commerce, they are simply "suggesting" the formulae used to determine those rates. duh !! Several telephone utilities have submitted new rate requests based on the FCC suggestions for fear of reprisals from the FCC.
This is my first attempt at a report for the TEA party website ..............some quick observations
- the 5 member elected Commission is comprised of three members that ran for election as Republicans and two as Democrats ...........the sitting republican Chairman votes overwhelmingly with the two democrats - rumor has it that he was supported in the election by the democratic party - ?
- in six months I have not seen one Commission rule or regulation rescinded or eased up on. Rulemaking seems to be a positive thing for the good of all .........extreme control over subjects !! The regulated entities in my opinion are rather "ruled over" in extreme detail than regulated.
- PSC staff appears competant and knowledgable