Wednesday, September 21, 2016

RICL's Supreme Court Last Chance Appeal and the Art of Using Both Hands




The Rock Island Clean Line has filed its appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.  It’s a weak argument that amounts to wishing in one hand and pooping in the other.  After reading the decision from the Third District of the Appellate Court Illinois and Rock Island Clean Line’s appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, it is obvious this is RICL’s first time acting as a proposed Public Utility and has no clue about the expectations and obligations of being a public utility. 

RICL is still contending there will be a big savings with the Rock Island Clean Line.  Clean Line keeps claiming there is potential of millions of savings at the Illinois Commerce Commission but has failed to sufficiently explained how where these savings will materialize.  There is not a single windfarm client for RICL on the west or a single interested electricity provider on the east end of the powerline.  Remember Solomon’s advice.

It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. 
  
It must be a challenge to see this speculation project as an actual public utility.  With the right hand, RICL cannot grasp and sign up a single wind energy company in Iowa.  With the left hand, RICL cannot grasp a public utility provider in Illinois.  Without both, there is not a projected savings to Illinois consumers? 

The savings simply doesn’t exist. 

So why doesn’t’ RICL have wind farm clients in Iowa?  Without actual contracts contingent on ICC approval, RICL cannot project savings for Illinois ratepayers.  Without a guarantee Illinois ratepayers will be buying this energy at a significant savings from an actual energy generation company, there is no proof of savings or benefit.  At best, RICL’s argument before the Illinois Supreme Court amounts to wishing in one hand and hoping in the other hand.  RICL cannot grasp one and hang on to the other.

It’s also a weak argument for RICL to claim it has failed to sign up wind energy customers because RICL is not a “Public Utility” in Illinois.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted RICL authorization to negotiate rates.  Clean Line Energy has gone so far as to boast it has FERC’s “approval”.  So why hasn’t RICL been successful in actually negotiating rates contingent on ICC approval for siting?

Could it be there is no saving for Illinois ratepayers?

Could it be there are no customers for the product RICL desires to wheel?

It’s a terrible attempt at a circular argument to say the Appellate Court cannot grant RICL public utility status because it is not already a public utility.  Only an idiot who finds himself lost in a corner would make this argument.  The regulatory process is designed for FERC to authorize rate negotiation and the states’ public utility commissions authorize siting approval based on need and benefit for the ratepayers.  Again, one hand authorizes rate approval and the other hand authorizes siting approval.  If there is indeed a savings and benefit for Illinois ratepayers, Clean Line needs to put it in writing.  Guarantee a commitment to serve Illinois ratepayers now and forever with actual contracts between energy generators on the west and energy resellers to ratepayers in Illinois.

Wishing in on hand and crapping in the other does not qualify RICL to be an Illinois public utility and it’s truly a weak legal argument to attempt. Hang on to one and letting go of the other can be difficult for some to master.  Putting it in writing can be near impossible for a speculation capital company that is not in the business for the long term.

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