Why are leaders against REC revenue investment?


To the editor:

Current city council leaders Scott Broadwell (president) and Sharon Soucy (vice president) are taking no time to digest and assess the public’s positive responses to the public utilities commission’s Renewable Energy Credits revenue recommendation for investment given at last Monday’s work session.

Within days they put on council’s Nov. 2 agenda the directing of staff to research and bring back a proposal to city council to use REC revenue to lower by about a penny the kilowatt-hour charge for electricity. The average resident’s monthly cost would go down about $7 a month. Rates will be artificially depressed for a few years while REC revenue lasts, then rates jump up.

Interestingly, the excellent investment the city (Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System) is about to make in run-of-the-river hydroelectricity will raise kilowatt-hour rates about a cent in 2016 and for a number of years thereafter. When the investment is paid-off, the cost for this electricity will drop significantly and stay lower for the long life of these projects.

Why is investment in hydroelectricity enthusiastically supported by the public utilities commission, city council, OMLPS, and the city manager? Clearly because future benefits to electricity users and the Oberlin community significantly outweigh the initial investment. That is, one dollar invested will yield several dollars of return.

One has to ask: Why is the same reasoning not applied to the investment of REC revenue by the leadership of city council? OMLPS? City manager?

It is difficult to figure out why staff is against investment of REC revenue that will significantly benefit ratepayers and Oberlin, like investment in hydro.

Does city council leadership merely follow staff? Will their actions win them votes? Do they not understand the compounding of return provided by thoughtful investments?

I don’t know. Perhaps you do?

Carl McDaniel