If you're one of the 51 million electric customers in the PJM region, which includes all or portions of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and the District of Columbia, are you aware that when you write that monthly check you are reimbursing Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power for all their costs associated with the PATH project? You're also reimbursing other regional power companies for their costs for the TrAIL project, the Susquehanna-Roseland project and the MAPP project. Ouch! If you live in other states, you're reimbursing other power companies for projects in your area -- these new profit-center motivated transmission expansion projects are cropping up all over the U.S., Canada, Great Britian, Australia and other countries. What a power company application for a particular project in your state may claim will only be a monthly increase of less than a dollar quickly adds up when you consider you are paying for multiple projects. What doesn't add up is the way the power companies spend generously on "prudent" expenses that they then expense to the transmission project, with virtually no questions asked by FERC.
See one of PATH's FERC Financial Report submissions here . This may look like one of those dry, confusing financial report forms you can't understand, but take a look inside -- there are plenty of juicy nuggets to be had, along with a narrative description of how and why you're paying for PATH beginning on page 123 (the FERC form page numbers on the bottom of the page, not the actual document pages).
"In March 2008, the FERC approved an order for PATH-WV to be included in the Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) administered by PJM. The FERC order implemented an annual transmission revenue requirement for PATH WV. Under this requirement, PATH-WV makes annual filings in order to recover prudently incurred costs (including amortization of the pre-commercial cost regulatory asset) and an allowed return. An annual rate filing is made for each calendar year using estimated costs, which is used to determine the billings to PJM ratepayers. The annual rate filing is compared to actual costs with any over or under-recovery being trued-up with interest and refunded or recovered in a future year's rates."
"PATH-WV collected a revenue requirement of $11.6 million for the period March 2008 through December 2008 and recorded an over-recovery of revenues of $5.5 million, including carrying charges, as a regulatory liability as of December 31, 2009. In June 2009, PATH-WV filed its true-up of the 2008 annual transmission revenue requirement with the FERC. The $4.5 million over-recovery of revenues, including carrying charges, will be incorporated into the projected 2010 annual transmission revenue requirement."
"PATH LLC, on behalf of PATH-WV, filed its 2009 annual transmission revenue requirement with the FERC and PJM, which established the projected PATH-WV revenue requirement at $15.1 million. The new rates went into effect in January 2009, subject to refund and true-up. PATH-WV collected a revenue requirement of $15.1 million for the period January 2009 through December 2009 and recorded an over-recovery of revenues of $4.15 million, including carrying charges, as a regulatory liability as of December 31, 2009."
"In September 2009, PATH LLC, on behalf of PATH-WV, filed its 2010 annual transmission revenue requirement with PJM, which established the projected PATH-WV requirement at $18.1 million. The new rates went into effect January 2010, subject to refund and true-up."
So, PATH has been collecting an estimate of its costs since March 2008 through PJM, who bills this to your electric service provider (who then passes it on to you). Just like the IRS, PATH's estimates collect too much, which they will refund to you later. However, later, when this "refund" kicks in, you'll already be paying even more for subsequent year's bad estimates so you probably won't notice this "refund" in your bill at all.
So, what exactly are they collecting, since no actual construction has begun?
How about $40,109 in "Donations" in 2009? Donations to who and for what? Why is FERC allowing them to "donate" money that comes out of MY electric bill at PATH's discretion? How about "Certain Civic and Political Activities" in the amount of $169 in 2009 (hey, it wasn't an election year). Why does FERC permit PATH to make political contributions with your money?
They also collect for the salaries & expenses of AEP & Allegheny employees working on the PATH project, cost to lease office space, office supplies, PATH's legal fees, taxes, the cost of experts and subcontractors for numerous "studies" of dubious worth to you, and many, many other "prudent" costs. But, here's the real kicker:
"Advertising costs, charged to expense as incurred, includes television, print, radio and internet advertising expense. For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008 advertising expense was $1.7 million and $0.4 million, respectively."
Advertising expense, huh? That most likely includes the cost of phone surveys and focus groups, Cyveillance and phoney power company-sponsored front groups in addition to all those ads you've seen (including their creation). Why is FERC allowing PATH to recover the cost of propaganda from the very people who are having the wool pulled over their eyes? Something just doesn't sound right about that.
Do you now see why your electric bill is so high? Are some of the "costs" being recovered from you questionable? Want to do something about it? Now you can! Send in your RSVP for this "open meeting", attend either in person or over the phone, and ask any questions you like, interested party! We may have to put up with this crap, but we don't have to like it. We can only hope that a concerted effort by affected ratepayers to have a voice may get FERC's attention.
To Interested Parties:
In accordance with the formula rate implementation protocols, PATH will host an open meeting among interested parties regarding PATH’s 2010 Annual Update filed for informational purposes with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 1, 2010.
Date/Time: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 10 am ET
Location: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
2300 N Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20037-1122
To accommodate those who are not able to travel to DC, we are offering a call-in option. The call in number is 202-663-9333; access code 6639120#. To ensure that we have enough phone lines reserved, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. By sending an RSVP, we can make sure you have any handouts prior to the call.
Should you need further assistance please contact Randall B. Palmer, Assistant General Counsel – Federal and State Regulatory and Chief Compliance Officer, at:
Allegheny Energy, Inc.
800 Cabin Hill Dr.
Greensburg, PA 15601