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UTA resorts to legal plunder of electric and gas ratepayers

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A Senate bill (SB243) will create an entirely new source of revenue for UTA and the Office of Energy Development (OED) through legal plunder.

And how does it do this?

Why, by having government do something that these two entities cannot do themselves without committing a crime—picking the pockets of the electric and gas rate payers who use clean, low polluting electricity and natural gas and giving that money to UTA and the Office of Energy Development.

They try to camouflage their legal plunder by allowing ratepayers to keep their money if they jump through a series of legislatively imposed hoops.

So, how do they justify their legal plunder? Why, in the name of air quality, of course, since that is the buzzword used this year to pass both good and bad bills such as SB243.

Of course, neither UTA nor the Office of Energy Development have any expertise in air quality. What they do have is an insatiable appetite for other people’s money.

UTA’s competitive advantage appears to be running inefficient and ineffective operations that create huge amounts of debt and a never-ending demand for more legal plunder in order to stay afloat so its executives can pay themselves outlandish bonuses and its board members can travel the world (although not on Trax or UTA buses).

The Office of Energy Development’s competitive advantage appears to be moving quickly to a new source of legal plunder even though the term “clean air” is nowhere to be found in its mission statement or anywhere else on its website. In fact, its mission is “To serve as the primary resource for advancing energy development in Utah” which some may argue is exactly the opposite of clean air.

Although one of the Office of Energy Development’s key objectives is to “support energy education” there is no definition of what energy education is.

Likewise, its goal to “Raise the level of energy awareness through educational programs, public outreach campaigns and technical assistance services” is undefined. Is it raising awareness of the importance of energy development, of oil shale, or tar sands, of nuclear power or of energy conservation?

In addition, the Office of Energy Development has no staff position(s) dedicated to “energy education” and, in fact, the word “education” does not even appear in any of the staff descriptions.

So it looks like this is a situation of if you allow us share in the legal plunder taken from utility rate payers, we will build it (whatever that is).

So, there you have it. A cash starved, debt ridden UTA and a state bureaucracy in search of funds to expand its empire are getting government to do what they cannot legally do for themselves – raid the pocket books of utility customers for their benefit.

Clean air is an enviable goal but when it is hijacked by UTA and a state bureaucracy, turned over to a board composed only of those who benefit directly from the legal plunder with no representatives of the rate payers who are being plundered and to an interlocal (government) organization that has no expertise whatsoever in clear air, then we really need to clean the air by sending SB243 to a quick, painless, non-polluting death.

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