Writers’ REC claims disputed

To the editor:

In last week’s News-Tribune, John Elder and Steve Hammond wrote a letter expressing their viewpoint on how the city should move forward with regard to the annual revenue generated by the sale of its renewable energy credits (RECs). I strongly disagree with their position on this matter – but I surely recognize their right to have their own opinion. What they do not have is the right to invent their own facts.

In their letter they claim that the original intent of council in 2007 when they set up the sustainable reserve fund was that all (future) revenues from REC sales would go into that fund. This is absurd!

The 2007 ordinance was created at a time when the city’s small quantity of RECs were being sold outside the city – thus giving up the city’s claim to have green electricity. The college and city worked out an agreement in which the city would, instead, sell these RECs to the college and that the revenue from these sales (about $10,000 per year) would be set aside to create the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund. By keeping the RECs within the city, OMLPS was no longer losing its claim to green energy. Electric customers bore the cost, equivalent to a 0.1 percent rate increase.

In 2007 no one on public utilities commission or council envisioned the current scheme in which OMLPS buys electricity with landfill gas RECs, sells these RECs at a profit, then replaces them with cheaper wind RECs creating an $800,000 per year net revenue stream. Failing to return these funds to the electric customers is equivalent to a 10 percent rate increase.

It is simply a lie to now to claim the 2007 council intended this outcome.

John H. Scofield