Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SNAFU: $1.7 billion Utility spends $258K a year on R&D. Consumer groups says that's "too much!"

It is interesting to note that PGE (Portland General Electric), a $1.7 billion a year company is only spending $258,000 on R&D. How can new technologies (like high-density energy storage - to level the effects of wind power variability - and therefore lower rates to consumers) be developed on that budget? They can't.

PGE is (rightfully) trying to increase it to $2 million a year (still insufficient), but consumers' groups think that's too much. It seems these very groups (who want to lower rates, even though fundamental energy costs are increasing), are against PGE's request for more research dollars. This will have the effect of raising rates higher, later.

We have met the Enemy and He is Us.

"In the end, the Citizens' Utility Board's Jenks... recommended that instead of granting the company an increase in its operating costs, the public utility commission should impose a 1 percent across-the-board cut."

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