ElectriCities debt, other costs continue to be drag on Eastern North Carolina

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The word “bipartisan” is thrown around a lot with no real explanation. Bipartisan is when groups that most of the time have different viewpoints share a common one on a particular subject and work together to solve a problem or build something.

It is past time for a huge bipartisan effort by the Rocky Mount City Council, the N.C. General Assembly, Gov. Pat McCroy and the N.C. Utilities Commission to ensure that the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency or ElectriCities is sold to Duke Power.

The reason is clear. Power obtained by Rocky Mount and many other Eastern North Carolina towns via ElectriCities is much more costly than buying directly from a private power company. If it is more costly to Rocky Mount, then it is more costly to the citizens of Rocky Mount.

The economic drag is caused because Electri-
Cities buys power from Duke, then on top there is a large ElectriCities debt that must be paid down, and then the criminal salaries the “executives” of ElectriCities “earn” are paid by the towns chained to ElectriCities. So, by buying power from ElectriCities via Duke Power, a town pays the salaries of both Duke Power and ElectriCities executives. Therefore, to be free of ElectriCities would be the biggest economic boost to Eastern North Carolina imaginable, raising housing prices and thereby tax collections and inducing businesses to move to the area or expand because they have more money.

The irony is that ElectriCities does not produce one ounce of electricity. It merely assists in the process. And, the debt was incurred when ElectriCities foolishly advised member towns to buy a portion of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant when it was under construction.

If the ElectriCities towns and communities sold off the trucks, employees, lines, et al, they would immediately be free of the liability from injury or death that all electric companies face. Rocky Mount and its sister towns and communities would not be free of all the debt in such a sale, but they would be free of a substantial portion as well as all workers’ compensation, salary and retirement obligations.

A further irony is that North Carolina already has the power to force such a sale. Private electric companies are regulated by the state via the N.C. Utilities Commission. The Utilities Commission should have made last year’s sale of ElectriCities part of the sale of Progress Energy (Eastern North Carolina’s then largest energy provider) to Duke Power.

The current Rocky Mount City Council largely replaced the old with the promises of ridding Rocky Mount of excessive power cost brought about by buying power from ElectriCities. It is past time for promises to be kept and a bipartisan effort move forward to unshackle Eastern North Carolina from ElectriCities. It is time to get to a better place.

Buck Young

Rocky Mount