Not in the Public's Interest
On Monday, March 12, in a strongly worded entry, the staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas recommended denial of the SWEPCO’s proposed Wind Catcher – the massive wind farm under construction in Oklahoma that will transport electricity to Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. [Public Utility Commission of Texas Filing]
The commission had major concerns about the unknown cost of construction of the Wind Catcher generation facility and noted it poses significant risk for ratepayers.
SWEPCO has stated the project will cost $4.6 billion to build, with ratepayers in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas sharing in the project costs. Texas ratepayers would be responsible for $1.1 billion, Arkansas – $607 million and Louisiana – $900 million.
The commission recognized huge risks associated with Wind Catcher, including:
- Significant risks of project cost over-runs
- Potential phasing out or elimination of production tax credits (PTC)
- Risk of reduced energy output
- Risk outages on the generation tie line
- Risk of lower than projected margins on sales of energy that could cause the savings to be insufficient to offset the revenue requirement Texas ratepayers would be required to pay.
Thus, the net bill to ratepayers could “increase without providing any of the net benefits of the project.”
Under SWEPCO's proposal, the ratepayers bear the risk that the production cost savings, combined with the production tax credits (PTCs), would produce sufficient savings to offset the revenue.
The commission called out SWEPCO’s history of going over budget on generation projects. For example, SWEPCO's Turk Plant went over budget by 16%. If this happens with the Wind Catcher project, ratepayers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas are all on the hook for the cost overages.
Ratepayers in Arkansas and Louisiana will bear these same risks!
Call or write your Public Service Commission today and demand they say no to SWEPCO’s Wind Catcher before it’s too late!
Arkansas Public Service Commission - Call (800) 482-1164 or E-mail
Louisiana Public Service Commission - Call (800)-256-2397 or E-mail