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What If It Doesn’t Work?

I watched the second round of the Democratic Presidential Debates this week. Among other issues, all 20-something Democratic presidential candidates endorse plans to reduce carbon emissions by 2025 or proposals to ban all carbon emissions by 2050 as a major plank in their platforms.

The Solar Tax, Part 2

Last month I discussed Al Gore’s visit and talk in Hayneville in February and his criticism of Alabama Power Company’s Capacity Reservation Charge. I also discussed how electric utilities’ costs are incurred and how utilities recover their costs. This month I will close out the article with a discussion on how Alabama Power Company’s Capacity Reservation Charge prevents subsidization of solar customers by non-solar customers and saves poor electric customers money on their electric bill.

Solar Tax Matrix Part 1

This article is longer than usual, so I have broken it into two parts. I start this month with a discussion on a utility’s fixed costs incurred to provide service to all customers when they need it and how those costs are recovered. I will conclude the article next month with a discussion on how solar customers are subsidized by non-solar customers without a specific solar charge.


Paying tribute to fallen members of the cooperative family is like writing a love letter to your sweetheart who is far away. It should have the right tone, the right words and touch on all the right things. There’s no one better at that than local writer Sean Dietrich. He is a columnist, novelist, and podcast/radio show host, known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Southern Living, The Tallahassee Democrat, Good Grit, South Magazine, Alabama Living, the Birmingham News, Thom Magazine, The Mobile Press Register, he has authored seven books, and is the creator of the Sean of the South blog and radio show. In the following, Sean tells the story of three good linemen who were tragically taken away much too soon.

That 97.1 Percent

In March, I wrote about Alabama’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist John Archibald’s criticism of Dr. John Christy on his appointment to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board.

A win-win for saving energy and money

Manufactured homes provide affordable housing across Alabama. The state ranks fifth in the nation for the percentage of residential manufactured homes, and manufactured homes account for more than a third of homes in parts of PowerSouth’s service area.

Demonizing Dr. Christy

University of Alabama Huntsville Professor Dr. John Christy was recently appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, which advises the federal agency on issues of science and the environment.

New Environmentalists

Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House. She laid out her legislative agenda stating, “We must face the existential threat of our time: Climate Change.” She pledged to establish a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to focus on energy independence and global warming. The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that climate change will be the first issue it addresses this term.

Lowman People

When I started work at Alabama Electric Cooperative in 1989, all of our generation resources were coal-fired. We had the McWilliams Plant, a small plant built in the 1950s. We also had the Lowman Plant on the Tombigbee River, which consisted of three units. Unit #1 was completed in 1969, and Units #2 and #3 were completed in 1979 and 1980, respectively. The McWilliams Plant was converted to natural gas in the early 1990s, but the Lowman Plant is still prominent in our generation portfolio today.

Michael and Hope

I have missed writing articles for the last couple of months. I have had some personal commitments that required a lot of time, and we have had a number of challenges at PowerSouth, one of which I will write about next month. At the first of October, a disturbance popped up near the Yucatan peninsula. It was predicted to be a rain event for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. It intensified until it was a tropical depression and then a tropical storm that took the name Michael. Within a few days, Michael was predicted to be a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall on the northern Gulf. By October 8, it was projected to be a Category 2 and then a Category 4. It came on shore October 10 and was measured as a Category 4. It will likely be re-evaluated as a Category 5 once all the final wind measurements are concluded.

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