At the October meeting of the Alabama Public Service Commission, the 3-member regulatory panel gave the green light to a pair of new incentives for small businesses meant to encourage commercial expansion into underserved areas.
One incentive called the Community Redevelopment Incentive or “CRI,” gives businesses a discount on their energy bill for up to one year in exchange for an agreement to activate an Alabama Power electricity account in a building that has gone unoccupied for at least six months.
The other initiative, called the Economic Development Incentive or “EDI,” provides two year’s worth of incentives for customers “meeting criteria related to additional incremental load,” meaning substantially increasing their levels of consumption, presumably by way of renovation or expansion.
“Because these incentives will increase the number of Alabama Power customers,” said the office of the PSC in a news release Tuesday afternoon, “they will also put downward pressure on the rates of all customers.”
PSC President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, a former Republican party leader who served as the state GOP’s first female Chairman, said the twin moves by the regulatory body are in keeping with its conservative direction.
“Alabamians can rest assured that I will continue to do what I have done throughout my tenure at the Public Service Commission – fight for you and against the federal government’s relentless assault on our economy,” said Cavanaugh. “President Reagan was right when he said, ‘Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.’”
The PSC’s other two commissioners echoed her remarks, though less pointedly, in accompanying statements Tuesday afternoon following the commission’s unanimous vote.
“Small Business is a cornerstone to the American dream,” said Commissioner Jeremy Oden, who was appointed to the PSC by Gov. Robert Bentley. “One of my top priorities has always been to protect and promote small business and help provide every man or woman with the opportunity to achieve that dream. I was proud to vote today for incentives that will assist small business in today’s political climate.”
Commissioner Chris “Chip” Beeker, Jr. concurred with his fellow regulators.
“The two incentives we approved today will benefit small business owners who take the risks necessary for job creation and retention,” said Beeker. “I am hopeful that our actions will work to counter the federal regulations that increasingly punish those individuals who serve as the backbone of our economy.”
All three commissioners are statewide elected officials who were elected on the Republican ticket.
The announcement proclaiming the new incentive deals came with introductory barbs pointed at contemporary energy policies prevailing among federal officials and regulators.
“Sadly, the greatest challenges facing small businesses are the overly-burdensome governmental red tape and mandates coming from Washington, DC,” read the announcement.
“The PSC Commissioners recognize that, in today’s economy, government should not hamstring business owners but, rather, should remove the obstacles they face and make their job of creating jobs easier. Unlike the federal government, the Commissioners intend to help the economy, not hurt it.”