• John Locke Update

    What Would House Bill 589 Mean for Energy Consumers?

    posted June 20, 2017 by Jon Sanders
    House Bill 589, “Competitive Energy Solutions for NC,” would be a major restructuring of energy policy in North Carolina. Here is a brief look into select aspects of the…
  • Research Report

    Consumer Protection Blackout: Why the Public Staff Should Be Reformed

    posted March 5, 2007 by Daren Bakst
    The Public Staff is an independent government agency whose role is to represent the interests of electricity consumers before the Utilities Commission. However, as recent examples demonstrate, the Public Staff is acting more like an environmental advocate than a consumer advocate. The Public Staff has recommended a major new tax on consumers, possibly as large as $181 million annually. The Public Staff also has expressed support for wind power plants even though it would mean higher costs and an unreliable means of electricity for consumers. The agency needs major reforms so consumer interests are truly protected, including term limits on the executive director of the Public Staff.
  • Press Release

    Consumer advocate needs reform

    posted March 5, 2007
    RALEIGH – A state government agency has failed its duty by not representing N.C. electricity customers’ interests. That’s the key criticism of the Public Staff in a new John Locke…
  • Press Release

    Proposed tax hurts consumers, helps environmental groups

    posted November 29, 2006
    RALEIGH – North Carolina electricity customers could pay an extra $181 million a year, thanks to the efforts of a consumer advocate that’s supposed to represent customers’ interests. That’s according…
  • Research Report

    Smokes, Booze … and Electricity? A new sin tax on electricity could be on its way

    posted November 29, 2006 by Daren Bakst
    The North Carolina Public Utilities Commission is considering charging an extra fee, separate from existing rates, to electric utility customers. This extra charge will help support what is called a “public benefits fund.” The fund would support programs that have nothing to do with the supply of electricity. Consumers would be required to pay the “fee” if they want to receive electricity, and the more electricity they use, the higher their fee will become. To environmental extremists and other proponents of this extra fee, the use of electricity, which allows us to warm our homes and function in modern society, is a “sin” and needs to be reduced.
  • Press Release

    JLF analyst dispels mercury myths

    posted November 7, 2006
    RALEIGH – New state restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants could boost your electric bill without generating any health benefits. That’s a key finding in a new John Locke…
  • Research Report

    Fish Tales About Mercury: Why regulation of mercury is all cost and no benefit

    posted November 7, 2006 by Daren Bakst
    North Carolina utility consumers may face higher rates for no justifiable reason if extreme mercury regulations are adopted. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is regulating, for the first time ever, mercury emissions from power plants. The purpose is to minimize potentially harmful mercury levels in fish consumed by humans. However, there has never been any documented case in the United States of mercury poisoning from fish. Data linking fish consumption to any type of adverse effect in humans is very weak. In addition, the EPA acknowledges that it does not know the impact mercury emissions from power plants have on the mercury levels in fish. Despite the lack of benefits and the additional costs, North Carolina’s Environmental Management Commission (EMC) is considering whether to adopt regulations which exceed the new and stringent federal standards.

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