Thursday Open Thread [8.7.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on August 7, 2014

It’s been awhile since we had one of these — your Editors have been sidelined by work and their families. But have at this one!

Delaware has convened a study panel to see if there is a way to get electricity to you cheaper than Delmarva can sell it. See if you can spot the irony:

Electricity aggregation programs, already in use in some states, allow governments or communities to negotiate for and buy power in a block for residents, with the group potentially able to get a better deal than the “standard offer” available from utilities.

In Delaware, the block could be as large as 900 megawatts annually, a deal that [Sen. Colin] Bonini said could draw spirited bidding from large and “very smart” suppliers.

Delmarva Power officials said they still were puzzling over the proposal Wednesday, when a study committee chaired by Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock held an initial public meeting in Dover. The committee agreed to hire a consultant to assess potential gains, prospective supplier markets and other considerations.

“There are other jurisdictions throughout the country that have looked at retail purchase energy models both for gas and electric,” Bonini said. “We’re looking specifically at electric.”

All I can say is that it’s a damn good thing that Delawareans don’t need cheaper health care, right? Because this buying in aggregate model is not so different than Medicare, Medicaid and the VA — stock bogeymen for the Colin Bonini’s of this world to bemoan the fact that the government is involved in something they shouldn’t. Funny how what the R’s find a use for big government that big government suddenly looks alot better. I’m all for more competitive electric rates (even though they are pretty low now), but it is hysterical that this so-called conservative is looking to have Big Government get that for you.

Then there’s the Gordon Administration playing fast and loose with pension funds. An NCCo employee (and kudos to her!) is objecting to the use of a $2.9M settlement from JPMorgan Chase to compensate for fund losses (from mortgage-backed securities) as part of this year’s payment to the NCCo pension fund. This employee rightly points out that this settlement goes to compensate the fund for it’s losses, it is not revenue to the County to be used to meet current obligations.

At issue is $2.9 million the county received earlier this year in a settlement with JPMorgan Chase, a statewide case handled through the Delaware attorney general’s office. The settlement represents 100 percent of the pension fund’s losses in residential, mortgage-backed securities handled by JPMorgan from 2005 to 2007.

(NCCo assistant attorney Marlaine) White said Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi decided to use that money as part of the county’s annual contribution to the pension fund for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

In a May 1 email to County Attorney Bernard Pepukayi and County Solicitor Darryl Parson, White said she didn’t think the county could use the settlement money for annual obligations to the pension fund. The $2.9 million should go directly into the county’s pension fund and not count as the part of this year’s contribution by the county government, she said.

“It is not the county’s money and it is not money that the county can utilize. The pension’s receipt of that settlement is a separate issue from the county’s contribution to the pension. … I believe the offset directed by the CAO is a violation of county law.”

The pension board is looking for outside legal opinion, but this certainly looks like Gordon and Grimaldi playing fast and loose with county funds again.

Did you see this interview by The Economist with President Obama? *This*, is just remarkable (and true):

The Economist: We see a lot of business people and they do complain about regulation.

Mr Obama: They always complain about regulation. That’s their job….The business community does have broader responsibilities to the system as a whole. And although the general view today is that the only responsibility that a corporate CEO has is to his shareholders, I think the American people generally sense—

The Economist: Do you really think that’s true? Because when I talk to corporate CEOs, that’s one of their complaints. If you ask for a complaint about the White House, they’ll say it is the attitude. Every CEO nowadays is involved in nine different social responsibility things—it’s ingrained in most public—

Mr Obama: Well, I think—here’s what’s interesting. There’s a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington. And I’ve said this to various CEOs. When they come and they have lunch with me—which they do more often than they probably care to admit (laughter)—and they’ll say, you know what, we really care about the environment, and we really care about education, and we really care about getting immigration reform done—then my challenge to them consistently is, is your lobbyist working as hard on those issues as he or she is on preserving that tax break that you’ve got? And if the answer is no, then you don’t care about it as much as you say.

This is good — businesses are accustomed to pushing an agenda that doesn’t have much to do with the greater good, and their social responsibility programs don’t make up for that. Especially for immigration — there is a broad business constituency that wants some reform there and they haven’t worked especially hard at buying Congress for that.

What interests you today?

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  1. John Kowalko says:

    Unfortunately it seems that anyone taking advantage of an independent supplier or an aggregation of providers will still be obligated for the “bloom-box” costs since they fall in the distribution category. Just a warning if the independent supplier tries to tell the customer that his or her commitment to other then Delmarva will relieve them of that burden. Please note my apologies for supporting that this cost is borne by only the Delmarva customer base and not the alternative of the Strategic Fund or DEDO. Small consolation to note that I and my colleagues were misled regarding the maximum cost to be experienced by those Delmarva ratepayers.
    John Kowalko

  2. Jim C. says:

    I love the way the WingNutJournal put it, “Sen. Blah-R, tucked a little-noticed footnote into the state’s capital budget…”
    What harm could come from that?(snark)

  3. cassandra_m says:

    And Theodore Wafer is guilty of killing Renisha McBride, not buying his self-defense claim. Good news on the justice front for a change.