A legislative move to keep Delmarva Power from having its customers foot the bill for the Bluewater wind farm fight fizzled today, at least temporarily.
House Concurrent Resolution 50, whose prime sponsor is Rep. John J. Kowalko, D-Newark South, recommends that the Public Service Commission deny any request by Delmarva to pass on the costs to ratepayers.
But Kowalko’s resolution encountered heavy weather in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, whose chairman, Ocean View Republican Rep. Gerald W. Hocker, blasted it as “one of the most anti-business pieces of legislation I have seen.”
Kowalko defended the resolution as “a protection for the ratepayers.”
Delmarva has spent an estimated $142,000 in its advertising campaign thus far, or about 50 cents for each of its 280,000-some customers.
“When you’re talking about 50 cents per customer for the truth to get out, I think this is an anti-business piece of legislation,” Hocker said.
Delmarva lobbyist Joseph P. Farley told the committee that the company has “every right to have a public notice to tell everyone in the state of Delaware how expensive Bluewater is.”
Advertising expenses will be borne by the stockholders, Farley said, but other legitimate expenses will be submitted for PSC approval.
Delmarva is opposing a proposed 25-year contract that would force it to buy power from Bluewater, which wants to build a wind farm off Delaware’s Atlantic coast.
Kowalko decided to table the resolution to revise its language to more clearly define his intent. Committee members also said they were disappointed that no one from the PSC attended the hearing, and that they would request that the agency send a representative when a subsequent hearing is held.
By J.L. Miller
The News Journal
8 May 2008
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