Who are the control freaks on energy policy?
posted by Tom Patterson
at 12 March, 12:35 PM 0
The legislature is correct to take back the task of making energy policy from the Corporation Commission. In fact, it’s their job, according to a plain reading of the Constitution.
The commission is authorized to set rates, but not energy policy. Doug McEachern had an odd comment about this. He acknowledged that energy policy is the legislature’s domain, but then asked that since legislators are “grasping control freaks”, why give them more power?
Here’s the answer. The legislature’s aim in this case is to reduce the footprint of government on the lives of citizens, in this case the energy choices we make and how much we pay for them.
It’s not an unimportant issue either. A recent study from the Manhattan Institute pointed out that renewable portfolio standards (RPS), like those imposed by the Corporation Commission, have a significant effect on energy prices and even on economic development in the states which have them.
The study found that 29 states have RPS mandates in place. In these states, electricity prices average 31.9 percent higher than in non-RPS states.
It’s going to get worse with time, too, as more future mandates take effect. A Heritage Foundation analysis estimated that by 2035, RPS mandates could raise residential rates by 35 percent and industrial rates by 60 percent.
Are RPS mandates worth the higher utility costs and slower economic growth? I’m skeptical, but I know this much. The grasping control freaks this time are the Corporation Commissioners who voted to impose the standards, not the legislature.