Saturday, August 31, 2013


I spent the last week in Little Rock, Arkansas with most of my normal waking hours spent at the Public Service Commission hearing on the power line project proposed to go through my small local community. It seems that the power industry has enormous power, and since April, when AEP/SWEPCO announced their intention to force their way with an extra high voltage line through Eureka Springs all of us have felt like small furry critters with feet caught painfully in steel traps.

Unfortunately the hearing is not complete. Due to a last minute motion that would allow the Utility giant to add testimony from the trial to its initial application, thus falsely maintaining that its application was complete, the judge simply recessed the hearing to be continued at a later date while attorneys file necessary briefs.

Thankfully, our attorney is good at his work. He put each of their witnesses through a grueling round of testimony. We have ample material to force consideration of this case in appeal.

My own particular concern has to do with whether or not the power company and the public service commission will be held accountable to state law. They cut and pasted their statement of economic impact from the application for an earlier project to the application for this one without ever performing the analysis of economic impact on the local communities that is required by law. Copying from one document to another is not in any way evidence of analysis.

We learned that the power companies have been held to extremely low standards and this one was caught off guard when a group of citizens who've been not quite as complaisant and powerless as is the norm, rose up in vehement opposition. It has been a near perfect storm... A powerful company that has always been granted its way, facing a group of citizens who are so passionately loving and protecting of their homes and properties that they are willing to stand their ground.

More people in Eureka Springs are taking the power line threat as their excuse to install solar. As I discussed with Save the Ozarks power transmission specialist Hyde Merrill, if you have solar power on your roof top, your home can serve as a battery by storing either cooling or heat, thus reducing demand at peak times on the power grid. The greatest demand that comes closest to overloading the grid is when people return home in the afternoon and turn down their air conditioners. Solar power can be fed into the home offset the power required to do specific things, like pre-cooling the home, or preheating hot water.

Finally, back at home and able to

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment