Duke Power has discovered a "fifth fuel." And they want to pass one tenth of the savings on to you!

This happened about a year ago. But with Cliffside in the news, I think this deserves some attention. Last May, around the time that the Progress Energy plant was a hot topic in Asheville, Duke Energy floated a fascinating proposal to the NC Utilities Commission. In it, they suggested that they would promote energy efficiency as a "fifth fuel" by sponsoring education programs and providing subsidies for the purchase of more energy-efficient appliances and devices.

So far, so good. Where it gets weird is in the reward Duke sought for being virtuous: a new fee (starting at $15 per customer per year) that would compensate the utility for the electricity it didn't sell because of decreased demand. That fee was based not only on program costs or unsold wattage, but also on the cost of the power plants the utility would have had to build if customers didn't conserve.

Patrick McHenry lies at Lincoln County Speech

It appears that Patrick McHenry doesn't know when to hold his tongue in front of cameras. At a Lincoln GOP convention, a cameraman (possibly from the Sigmon for Congress campaign) recorded McHenry calling a solider a "two bit" because he was restricted from a green zone gym, and goes even further by lying about a death in the green zone. Naturally, Lance Sigmon's campaign is out to spread this news as wildly as possible. Gotta love Republican infighting.

Press Release:
"McHenry refers to military sentry as 'two-bit' at Lincoln GOP event, exaggerates story to include death"

Youtube video in the fulltext.

Radiogirl Dissects the Governors Debate

As you may know, one of our frequent visitors, Radiogirl is none other than Laura Leslie of WUNC-FM. She's a good sport, a great writer, and a tireless reporter ... and her take on our governors debate last night is well worth reading.

Still, it’s an important first– especially because it puts candidates face to face with informed voters who want to know a lot about a lot more things than the race is currently addressing. Both Moore and Perdue played it safe tonight, which was the politically smart thing to do. But I’d bet they both came away with an enhanced understanding of the difference between what grassroots Dems care about and what big party donors do.

Binker at his best


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The past couple of days around here have made it tricky to focus on some of the less glamorous aspects of governance, but you'll be glad to know that others haven't let up. In fact, Mark Binker's Capital Beat blog has one of his strongest stories in months. It's a good analysis that lays out some of the financial challenges the legislature may find itself facing this summer. In particular, Binker points to two paragraphs in the state's current economic projections that we all should be keeping in mind.

Clearly, a protracted and significant slowdown or recession will dampen expectations for revenue growth in FY 2008-09 and may mean that the tentative 4.6% growth rate will need to be lowered. Continued monitoring of both the credit crisis and the impact of rising food and gasoline prices on consumer spending and job growth is crucial.

Welcome Kay Hagan, Candidate for US Senate

Kay Hagan will join us for a live-blog session on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:00 p.m. I am very proud that Kay has agreed to meet with us and I look forward to her answers to our questions. If you haven't had a chance to visit her new web site, give it a look. It's very nicely done and you can see her BlueNC live-blog listed on the calendar.

Thank you, Kay, for agreeing to join us.

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