1984 Scorecard Vote
In 1983 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to allow private utilities under its jurisdiction to add 50% of the costs of new power plant construction to their rate base when billing customers. In effect this forced consumers to provide interest free loans to utilities for construction work in progress (CWIP) even if the new plants were never completed. Environmentalists objected to this because it gave the utilities a bias toward energy production instead of energy conservation. The utilities could pass on the costs of new power plants to customers, and even make a profit on the extra power sold, but they had no similar incentive to save energy through conservation measures, even when conservation was cheaper and better environmentally.
Environmentalists supported a House proposal to limit the CWIP arrangement to financially pressured utilities which could not otherwise meet new construction costs. Such utilities would also have to show that a new power plant represented the cheapest alternative for meeting energy needs, when compared to conservation or solar power.
This vote was on the Moorhead substitute to the bill, which would have allowed the old FERC rule on construction work in progress to continue unchanged. Moorhead substitute rejected 135-267; February 8, 1984. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Moorhead substitute to H.R. 555, the Construction Work in Progress Policy Act.) The Reagan Administration supported the Moorhead substitute. Even though it lost in the House, the old FERC rule remains in effect because the Senate failed to act on the issue of construction work in progress.