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Power The Courts United States

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Energy Conservation Program (yahoo.com) 84

mdsolar sends news that the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a 6-2 ruling in favor of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's ability to create incentives for conserving energy and reducing demand on the power grid at peak times. The demand response program pays large electricity customers like retailers, schools and office buildings to reduce energy consumption on hot summer days and other times of peak demand. The reduction in power use means electric utilities don't need to turn on backup power plants, which cost more to run and boost electricity prices. ... The rule won wide praise from environmental groups because it curbed the need for utilities to build expensive and air-polluting power plants. The demand response program saved customers in the mid-Atlantic region nearly $12 billion in 2013, according to PJM Interconnection, which manages the wholesale power supply for all or part of 13 states. ... But the rule has meant millions in lost profits for utilities. Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.
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Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Energy Conservation Program

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  • There is more about the ruling here http://thinkprogress.org/clima... [thinkprogress.org]
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @08:18PM (#51378191) Journal

    Ever noticed that when these companies want to protected their interests they say something along the lines of how badly it will hurt someone else:

    Press: So Mr PR guy, what is your companies reaction to having this highly profitable but damaging line of business made illegal?

    PR guy: Oh we are fine with losing billions in revenue, we've always known it was an unfair monopoly. What we are concerned about is that this will cause millions of cute puppies to die. We don't understand why the government is so intent on killing millions of cute puppies.

  • But the rule has meant millions in lost profits for utilities. Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.

    They should have argued that it was a "taking" and the government had to reimburse them for their losses.

    The tail end of the Fifth Amendment reads:

    [...] nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    and the Supremes have already ruled that new laws and regulations, and changes to existing ones, that suck part of the value out of propert

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

      They should have argued that it was a "taking" and the government had to reimburse them for their losses.

      The tail end of the Fifth Amendment reads

      I'm sure the energy industry lawyers who argued the case before the Supreme Court will make sure to check Slashdot comments in the future so they don't miss such an obvious winning ploy.

    • Oh bullshit. The government needs to reduce energy usage. The utilities are insistent on the idea of profits-uber-alles. All the government is doing here is encouraging customers to save power, it is no different from a private citizen trying to form a boycott. Saying that this is a "taking of value" implies that the utilities deserve these profits, which they do not. If it is a taking then even a simple advertisement campaign to discourage excessive and unnecessary power usage would be a taking.

      The go

      • by judoguy ( 534886 )

        The government is not fascist. But maybe it should be if it's the only way to ....

        And that's how it all gets started.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Oh bullshit. The government needs to reduce energy usage.

        I reject that notion. Every hour and a half, enough sunlight hits Earth to supply our power needs for an entire year. Humanity's energy usage is noise.

        The government doesn't even need to reduce peak energy usage. The utilities do. The fact that the government is having to force the utilities to encourage conservation to prevent blackouts during peak use tells me that the free market has completely and totally failed. As you said, the corporations

    • Careful, your sense of entitlement is showing.

      In no fucking way is some company entitled to future revenues, which is what you are saying. And in no way should that be enshrined in some kind of half assed legal precedent.

      Go ahead, set that precedent. And then watch the parade of companies into the Federal courthouse every single time that a local, state, or federal legislative body changes any law ever. After all, that regulation saying I can't dump toxic waste into the river sucked the value out of that

  • Justice Alito recused himself. Makes the point that stock ownership is political. Harvard President should take note and divest from fossil fuels. This is especially acute owing to Harvard taking up an Academic Honor code. http://slashdot.org/journal/25... [slashdot.org]
  • Those companies argued that the program impermissibly targets retail customers.

    I have to at least partially agree with that argument - Why the hell can't I cash in this, since my home demand curve almost exactly reverses the grid demand curve?
  • One of the reasons schools aren't year round here is because AC is quite expensive to run during the Summer months when it's 105f outside :|

    So to save money, they shut off the AC during those months. They save all sorts of $ on electricity, but the heat coupled with the humidity makes a perfect breeding ground for mold.

    Is why the school smells so lovely when it starts back up. The cleaning staff has barely had time to bleach everything and wipe it down before everyone comes back.

    Want to see some serious s

    • Schools started not having class in summer well before AC was common. I assume a hot summer classroom was not an ideal learning experience, plus a lot of farm kids were needed at home during the summer months.
  • by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @07:31AM (#51380671) Journal

    There's a concept called "decoupling" - where a utility's profit is not based on the amount of power sold, but on other factors. (Say, reliability, low cost, customer satisfaction, etc). Many utilities do this, via their local regulating body of government.

    With that in place, the utility doesn't care how much (or little) power you use - at least on a profit level. If the government offers a bonus to the utility for successfully implementing "green" power or a Demand Response system, then there's a lot of incentive for the utility to make that happen.

    This isn't rocket surgery. Utilities are just like any other company. So many people have already decided that utilities are evil that they can't see how a small change to the rules can be good for everyone.

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