Saturday, August 20, 2016

Michael Skelly and the Rock Island is Denied in Illinois

Hey Mike,
Bummer about losing that appeal for RICL at the Illinois Appellate Court with 3 judges upholding the law.  After all that lobbying, it came down Appellate judges saying RICL fails to meet the Public Utilities Act.  It's interesting Clean Line hasn't updated their website.  It still lists RICL as "APPROVED" in November 2014.    It must really be a downer on McKinney street in Houston,  knowing it's back to square one and all. 
Rock Island Clean Line is Denied !

It's also interesting to see no quotes from Michael Skelly about this huge setback. Clean Line has been a master of press releases and spinning little inconsequential tidbits in their favor. 

The recent "waiver"  Clean Line "won" in Missouri is a good example.    This "win"  is only because GBE either screwed up or intentionally tried to cut the landowners out of the required 60 day notification.  Perhaps the Hillary rule applies here.   It's not an ethics violation when the company can claim incompetence.  Then it can be spun as winning a "waiver"..... Whatever.  Call it what it is.... It reminds me of a couple other "wins" that were overblown.
 
A good example was "Clean Line Energy has come to an agreement with the Illinois Department of Agriculture for an Ag Mitigation Agreement".... So?    Looking back an AMA was largely irrelevant to the big picture,  but Skelly did good spinning it into a big hurdle.

Having press releases and news stories proclaiming Plains & Eastern Clean Line has achieved FERC "approval"  was another.   Calling it FERC's "consent" to negotiate rates would has been more accurate. What made that laughable was when the press release and stories ran again a couple years later after CLEP asked FERC for more liberal restrictions.     It wasn't a new deal.  It wasn't approval. It was a plead to FERC because CLEP couldn't sign up energy generation companies at the original agreement.
Now that CLEP was DENIED in Illinois of the Rock Island Clean Line,  it is just as interesting to see Michael Skelly's silence.   It's also painfully silent that there is a federal lawsuit in Arkansas and Oklahoma for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line.    Insurrection like that must be depressing for venture capital companies. 

It is telling about Skelly's management philosophy.   When it's good news,  he wants his name in the papers next to the quote.    He wants his name found with positive Google searches.   

The Skelly Rules for Working with the Media

1.  Don't send out press releases for bad news.
2.  Delegate bad news quotes  to the grunts two or three rungs down on the corporate ladder.   Don't have your name found on the internet with bad news.
3.  Be the frontline leader when it is good news to announce to the press.
Way to go Mike!  That is classic corporate leadership from the rear.    Delegate the bad and take credit for the good.  You always have to look out for your own future first.

Going forward,  it looks like Skelly has three options with RICL.

Option 1. 
You could give up and move on.   Of course,  you're getting paid by Ziff,  National Grid,  and whoever money behind this Bluescape to "develop" these projects and secure the easements. Surrender isn't much of an option of you still want a paycheck.
Yeah,  that bonus money to sell the project to National Grid after the easements are secured goes to zero if you quit now. Sucks for you and the vested partners at Clean Line.

Option 2.
CLEP could appeal this  ruling to deny RICL public utility status to the Illinois Supreme Court.   The big dollar Chicago attorney would probably think BILLABLE HOURS with little chance the court touches the issue.

The boys and girls at Team Clean Line are probably stewing over the Appellate's logic. It's only natural to be down.   You lost and most likely Team CLEP is so emotionally tied (really financial tied is more accurate ) to the issue they can't see the truth is obvious.
The problem with RICL's argument is there's no written commitment now or  forever into perpetuity from Clean Line to serve Illinois ratepayers. Sure there would be a converter station in Grundy County to convert direct current back to Alternating Current to constitute as a facility of sorts,  but dumping 3,500 megawatts of energy into the Chicagoland market doesn't mean there is a commitment to serve Illinois ratepayers.

Just having an "expert" witness stating this should reduce Illinois energy rates doesn't help much.    Deregulation is largely a failure as states are moving back towards regulated rates. Even wind corporations live and die by 20 year Power Purchasing Agreements. There is no guarantee that the proposed RICL project will benefit Illinois ratepayers.

Sure, the boys and girls in Houston can say Illinois laws are old fashioned and can work with modern energy companies. Illinois ratepayers would disagree.   Illinois Public Utility Act is written very clear to prevent Fly-by-Night Hustlers who want to take advantage of Illinois Landowners,  ratepayers, and residents.

Option 3.   
Clean Line Energy Partners llc could reapply to the ICC and go back to square one again.  This option will cost a bundle. 

MacBride has served them well as their lawyer in Illinois before the Illinois Commerce Commission, but they surly haven't been cheap.   CLEP's attorney's paper work has been volumous, and that means billable hours, and that means expensive lawyer expenses for Clean Line.

Is Houston interested in playing Double-or-Nothing?

I'm sure MacBride would be willing to continue  representing Clean Line if someone continues writing the checks.  Clean Line's big dollar Chicago attorney has done an honorable job representing this client.   It's probably not easy  attempting to make this turd of a company look good,  but there is only so much he can do.

How many times has the hired attorneys been overruled by Clean Line's in house lawyers and pushed to hard?  I get the sense Clean Line is a client that has trouble listening to their attorney's advice.  When this is done and finally finished,  I'd love to hear MacBride's stories about the arrogance of Clean Line,  but client hubris is probably covered under attorney client privileges.

This has gone on for over four years.   What was this docket started at the ICC?  2012?  Counting the original docket at the ICC,  this has been in the works for since 2010.  Do you think the folks at the Illinois Commerce Commission are tired of the boys and girls from Clean Line yet?  

WE ARE CERTAINLY TIRED OF CLEAN LINE ENERGY.   

IT'S TIME FOR RICL TO GO AWAY!

In the mean time, change your website.

RICL IS DENIED!

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