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United States & Canada - July 16

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Xcel set to cut power to 47,000

Andy Vuong, Denver Post
Xcel Energy estimates that it will shut off 47,000 Colorado customers for delinquent bills during the second and third quarters of this year, a staggering 140 percent increase over the same period in 2005, according to regulatory filings.

With energy costs and customer shutoffs soaring, advocates for the poor are scrambling to find additional funding to assist low-income households with their electricity and heating bills this winter.

The state Public Utilities Commission plans to review today a rule change enacted in 2006 that lifted a requirement for Xcel to report its customer shutoffs.

Xcel's estimate on disconnections for this year was disclosed as part of hearings covering the company's future power-generation plans.

Utilities nationwide are turning off more nonpaying customers amid a sluggish economy and surging food, gasoline and power costs.
(16 July 2008)

Made in America energy policy

Linda McQuaig, The Star
When Americans want something that lies in another country, the consequences for that other country can be severe.

Even if they don't actually invade, they put a lot of pressure on lesser countries to behave as they want.

Canada, for instance, hasn't been invaded by the United States since 1812, but Ottawa has proved highly co-operative with Washington's desire to have access to our oil. We are America's Number 1 supplier.

Pressure for Canadian acquiescence in servicing America's apparently bottomless energy appetite is only going to get more intense, as fresh panic sweeps across America over skyrocketing oil prices and supply insecurity. Oddly, the Bush administration continues to flirt with the idea of making oil supplies even more insecure by launching a military strike against Iran...

...There's an acute need for some sort of coherent national policy to deal with all this, to avert the looming environmental disaster while minimizing regional divisions and tensions with the United States...

...Actually, the truth is we do have a national energy policy – it's just that Canada isn't the nation that designed it.
(15 July 2008)

Hog heaven, part 1
Increased offshore drilling does not substitute for national energy policy

Joseph Romm, Gristmill

When it comes to energy policy, Amory Lovins has proven again and again that he's a pretty smart guy. At the moment, nothing seems more insightful than one of Amory's comments in the May/June issue of Mother Jones.

Asked what energy policies the next president should champion, Lovins was skeptical. He believes energy policy will continue to be made not at the national level, but by communities and states. "With modest exceptions," Amory said, "our federal energy policy is really a large trough arranged by the hogs for their convenience."

Right now, the hogs are eating very, very well...

...Over the past eight years, the Administration already has shoveled leases out the door as fast it has been able, relaxing environmental reviews to speed up the paperwork -- so much so that federal employees have protested, despite the risk of retaliation from the Administration's message police. Given this history, one might suspect that the president's refusal to release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a gambit to keep up the pressure for more drilling. In other words, he seems to have decided that we consumers should be held hostage at the pump until Congress caves and gives oil companies lots more places to drill...
(14 July 2008)

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