Unified Action – August 2015

Require EPE to Implement Effective Controls before Rate Increases or New Power Plant Construction

Sponsored by Steve Fischmann, stephen.fischmann@gmail.com

The issue

El Paso Electric has received approval to build four new plants designed to provide power during peak demand periods on hot summer afternoons and evenings. Montana generating facilities 1 through 4 will cost ratepayers about $1.9 billion in increased billings during their operating life. These facilities are particularly costly for consumers because they sit idle, or sell power to other utilities at a loss, for most of the day.

Construction of these power plants might not have been necessary if EPE had used proven strategies to reduce peak power loads. Utilities in the United States and around the world have successfully saved ratepayers billions of dollars by implementing pricing structures and peak power use control technologies that reduce peak demand and eliminate the need to build expensive new plants. El Paso Electric implausibly claims these strategies are too expensive. They have made no serious effort to implement peak power management tools and have no plans to do so in the future.

What we are asking

Send an email to the Public Regulation Commissioners asking that they refrain from approving any EPE rate increases or new power plant construction until effective peak demand reduction measures are implemented. Also ask that the PRC reconsider approval of the Montana 4 power generation facility because it likely will not prove necessary with peak power management tools in place.

Feel free to use the sample letter below to help construct your message.

Once you have completed the action, go to pva.unified.action@gmail.com to say “I did it!”

Sample Letter



Dear PRC Commissioners:

El Paso Electric has brushed aside its legal obligation to adopt peak demand management solutions that are more cost effective than adding new power generation. EPE customers are paying the price.

Many successful peak demand management models have been implemented in the United States and around the world. They have saved consumers billions of dollars. EPE implausibly claims that it cannot have similar success with aggressive residential tiered and time-of-use rate programs and many forms of peak power system controls.

Unfortunately, the company’s recently submitted Integrated Resource Plan maps out 30 more years of the same outdated practices.

I respectfully request that the PRC refuse to consider any change in EPE rates until the company puts forward an Integrated Resource Plan that responsibly manages long term costs and implements 21st century peak demand management strategies.

I also request that the PRC put a moratorium on approving any new EPE power plants until responsible demand management practices are in place. Excess capacity costs power users money!

Finally, I request that the commission reconsider its decision to approve the Montana power generation facility in light of questionable need. The chosen configuration is far more expensive than other proposals, and the generation capacity will likely be unnecessary with cost-effective peak demand management policies in place.

Thank you for your consideration.


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