Power Companies Love Clueless Blogger

This just went out on AEP/Allegheny’s askpath email mailing list.  The power companies love them some Jay Hancock.  I can’t make this stuff up —

Jay Hancock, a financial columnist and blogger for the Baltimore Sun, yesterday published a strong endorsement of the PATH project, emphasizing its importance to Maryland’s economic future.

There’s one thing AEP/Allegheny love – ignorance, especially when it is spouted by corporate media outlets.

One of the commenters (whom I know to be a proud West Virginian) on Mr. Hancock’s blog makes the point eloquently:

Mr. Hancock – I’m not sure in the space allotted I can list all the errors (both of omission and commission) and misstatements in your blog entry. But I’ll try:
– You make no mention of the rate increases that Maryland residents (along with 12 other states and DC) will see to pay for PATH;
– You make no mention of the 1300 homes within one mile of the proposed site;
– You make no mention of the substation’s design to include bays for THREE NEW LINES to come out of it (one 765-kV and two 500-kV) (which were acknowledged at the very planning commission meeting you dismiss, and one of which appears in the latest planning documents from PJM, the regional transmission organization);
– You make no mention of your own governor’s support for the development of off-shore wind farms precisely to serve the communities you claim are facing shortages;
– You say PATH will bring in “badly needed power;” no, it’s not. If we’re suffering a “power shortage,” why did AEP – one of the two companies partnering on this project – lay off and/or buy out 10% of its entire workforce because of falling demand less than six months ago? (This one’s really easy to document, you know!)
– Did you deliberately ignore the Montgomery County Council’s hearing on Pepco’s dismal performance in providing reliable power this summer? It had everything to do with lack of maintenance and manpower, not “blackouts from lack of electricity.”

I could go on, and on, and on, but before you sneer about NIMBYs, let me point out something: Those opposing this project have to know the applicant’s arguments in depth in order to prove or disprove the companies’ claims of “need.” You, on the other hand, demonstrate that you’re perfectly willing to take as gospel what these companies tell you, even though they have hundreds of millions of dollars of pure profit at stake. From your blog entry, it appears you never even bothered to contact any of the opponents, even though they have websites, email contacts and phones, to challenge them to prove their case to you.

I don’t normally direct personal criticism at a journalist; I know the field is struggling, and there’s far too much to cover and not enough people to do it. But this is a perfect example of WHY newspapers are struggling; not only do you have nothing enlightening to add to the conversation, you’re actively participating in spreading the corporate line.