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The truth frightens Western Resource Advocates

The truth frightens Western Resource Advocates

“Three things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”  Budda

Western Resource Advocates (WRA), a multi-state renewable energy advocacy group and intervenor supporting Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan (CEP), filed a motion on July 16 requesting that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) disallow huge portions of the Coalition of Ratepayers expert witness Charles Griffey’s testimony (and here) that challenges Xcel’s CEP accounting.

The CEP is Xcel Energy’s massive $2.5 billion fuel-switching scheme away from hydrocarbons in favor of predominantly industrial wind.

WRA, which brags about destroying view sheds with unreliable industrial wind turbines, doesn’t think the cost to ratepayers is within the scope of the proceeding. Nor does WRA believe that the Coalition should have the right to critique questionable claims from Xcel, WRA, and the Sierra Club that the CEP is economical and in the public interest.

Coalition attorney Meredith Kapushion filed our response on Friday, July 20:

Contrary to WRA’s assertions, the testimony offered by Griffey is in direct response to prior testimony, is directly relevant to the interrelated issues and comports with the Commission’s rulings in this case.

Griffey’s testimony is a direct challenge to claims made in the AD/RR proceeding (Docket 17A-0797E) by Public Service Company of Colorado (“PSCo” or “the Company”), Sierra Club, and WRA that flatly endorse the economic conclusions of the 120-Day Report and make sweeping  pronouncements that the AD/RR application and the Preferred Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio (“CEPP”) are in the public interest. The very parties that support WRA’s Motion seeking to strike Griffey’s testimony are the same parties that introduced this issue in earlier testimony. They should not be allowed to proclaim the alleged benefits of the CEPP in the AD/RR proceeding without weathering any critique. It is both the hallmark of an adversarial system and the obligation of the Commission to consider the very type of argument and information that has been presented  by the Coalition to rebut these claims. The truth should neither be buried nor ignored. [Emphasis mine]

This leaves us wondering, what is it about the truth that has WRA, the Sierra Club, and Xcel so frightened? Perhaps it’s that Xcel and its supporters said the CEP would move forward ONLY if it saves Xcel’s customers money as the Colorado Springs Gazette reported, “Xcel’s caveat is that it would not go ahead with the project if it didn’t create savings for customers or at a minimum, not cost them more than they already pay.”

But, yet again, the Coalition found errors in Xcel’s most recent figures that give the illusion of but not actual cost savings as stated in our recent response:

When corrected for these errors, the early retirement of Comanche Units 1 & 2 will cost ratepayers at least $284 million on a present value basis through 2054 (even more when a shorter time horizon is considered). This is a $497 million difference from PSCo’s 120-Day Report and undermines the claims made in the AD/RR proceeding by PSCo, Sierra Club, and WRA that the CEPP saves ratepayers money and is in the public interest. 

Previous errors totaled $88 million, which Xcel acknowledged.

The truth is that WRA and their co-conspirators don’t want the truth. They want the plan.

If the PUC commissioners do decide to strike Griffey’s testimony then it also should strike significant portions of Xcel, WRA, and Sierra Club testimony as the Coalition requests. Hopefully, we find out on Wednesday, July 25 if truth prevails over fear.

“On the face of it, it must be a bad cause which will not bear discussion. Truth seeks light instead of shunning it.” Horace Mann, as quoted in the opening of our response.


Amy Cooke