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Despite claims, RICL not in best interest of people of Illinois

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 10:01 a.m. CDT

Dear Editor:

Even the most cursory of research, would reveal Rock Island “Clean” Line (RICL) has not met any standard of need, much less a “high standard.”

By claiming to be a “merchant” transmission line project, RICL is attempting to slide by the existing laws  in place to protect Illinois consumers and landowners.

Because RICL uses the buzz words “jobs” and “clean,” we’re expected to remain ignorant to the major concerns raised about the company’s intent, finances, qualifications, and “studies.”

Here’s major points from testimony submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) by expert witnesses and ICC engineers and staff. Full quotes and sources can be found on www.BlockRICL.com/testimony.

“RI has not claimed or proved public need….. this is a “spec”-like project.”

“RI’s financial resources are not currently sufficient to fund the construction…. At best, the information provided regarding access to financing can only be described as “aspirational.””

RICL seems to have run through all of the investor’s money with no guarantee of more.

“If there are still insufficient revenues…RICL would be more likely to seek to raise revenue through some sort of FERC-approved cost-based recovery mechanism...as described by RICL witness Skelly.”

In other words, ask us to pay for the project.

RICL’s economic benefits “…focuses only on certain alleged benefits of the project. RICL has not compared the benefits to the project’s expected costs.”  In the majority of ICC scenarios, the costs outweigh the alleged benefits.

A model used by RICL to calculate “economic benefits” is faulty. “Indeed, the more imprudent, inefficient, costly, wasteful RICL is assumed to be, the greater the “benefit” that would be computed by Dr. Loomis’ model.” 

The claimed tax benefits  “…represent income transfers, at best….. They do not represent a net increase in consumer welfare. Some portion of these tax revenues could even represent a net increase in costs……”

“….PJM should not assume that RI should be modeled as “a wind sourced injection.”” In other words, don’t count on this line carrying wind-generated energy.

“… the reliability and financial risks they entail, including to Illinois deliver customers, are far too great to warrant issuance of a CPCN …”

Electricity price “savings are likely to be short-lived benefits...”

“I am skeptical of RICL’s ability to efficiently manage and supervise the proposed project.” ICC Staff Engineer/ Zuraski

Mr. Wolf, do your homework. We did. This project is NOT in Illinois’ best interest.

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