Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner Frances Koncilja’s concern for ratepayers is limited to the Pueblo area. She is more than willing to load up other low-income Coloradans with additional costs. In a 2-1 vote last Thursday, Koncilja and PUC Chairman Jeff Ackermann ordered the state’s largest monopoly utility to model a $40 per ton social cost of carbon (SCC) beginning in 2022. Newly confirmed Commissioner Wendy Moser voted no, according to a source close to the proceeding.
The source added that even the utility objected to the high cost, which will force the premature closure of undepreciated coal plants and drive up electric rates.
The PUC’s order came just days before President Trump’s Executive Order “promoting energy independence and economic growth,” which essentially eliminatied the controversial SCC as any kind of serious measure on regulatory cost or benefit.
The SCC originated from an Obama era interagency working group that believed it could put a dollar value on economic damage from a metric ton of emissions in any given year and model what it would cause all following years up to 2300 A.D.
In reality, it’s a crude and highly flawed measurement that former President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency used to justify costly and likely unconstitutional regulations such as the Clean Power Plan.
Lawmakers can fix the PUC’s costly regulatory zealotry by repealing Colorado’s phantom carbon tax and exerting some legislative control over the PUC. Over the last decade the Colorado legislature spent too much time “getting ahead of the EPA.” Now, it’s time for lawmakers to catch up with President Trump or face being left behind.