Today, MidAmerican Energy released a new YouTube video making their case for passage of HF 561. While they criticize what they call “special interest groups” in the public discussion of this bill, what they fail to say is that they have invested far more resources than any Iowa group has done in promoting passage of HF 561. MidAmerican Energy is the dictionary definition of what it means to be a special interest group, and continues down their long path of attempting to demonize everyday citizens who oppose this bill, by calling us “special interest groups.”
A link to their video is at the bottom, and with the Iowa Senate Commerce Committee vote on the bill scheduled for Thursday, March 8, there are a couple fallacies in their statements that need airing right away.
Bill Fehrman, MidAmerican Energy CEO, said the legislation was needed to help MidAmerican Energy continue to investigate nuclear power as a possible source of electricity generation in Iowa. What he fails to mention is there is nothing stopping his company from doing this without HF 561. What MidAmerican needs and does not have is enough investor support to enable a new nuclear reactor to be built without the concessions and financial protections for investors inherent in the bill. For example, HF 561 would enable MidAmerican Energy’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway to collect the full rate of return on investment, something they are restricted from doing under current Iowa law. There is a reason MidAmerican needs the bill, and it is to shift financial risks to rate payers.
The other fallacy in the video pertains to advanced cost recovery. Fehrman says “there are no pre-payments” and that is simply inaccurate. He explained that MidAmerican would develop a financial plan before beginning construction and that once construction began, rate payers would start the payment process. What is disingenuous about this is that without HF 561, any new power plant would not be eligible for billing customers until it came on line and started generating electricity. While there is a case to be made that this process would save rate payers interest charges, MidAmerican is not making that argument, but is using deception to persuade viewers of the video of something that is not true.
Please check out our earlier post and if you live in the district of one of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee, contact them today and ask them to vote no on HF 561 when it is considered by the commerce committee on March 8.