Hocker taking steps to improve local power

In the May 18 issue, the Coastal Point printed a letter from Perry J. Mitchell of Consumers for Alternate Power. As indicated in the editor’s note, the letter was also sent to me. In the correspondence, Mr. Mitchell posed a series of questions regarding Delmarva Power.

While I am not a spokesman for Delmarva Power, I did take action to get much of what was requested. Without tediously recapping Mr. Mitchell’s queries, I believe the following information largely addresses the questions he raised.

Delmarva Power, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings Inc., provides electricity to more than 500,000 customers on the Delmarva Peninsula. Of that total, 295,893 are located in Delaware. The company projects that it will add approximately 2,900 electricity customers next year, a growth rate of less than 1 percent.

Delmarva Power makes the majority of its profit on the delivery of electricity through its transmission network. The cost of the power (the amount Delmarva pays for electricity) is largely passed through to the customer.

The delivery and supply of electricity are both regulated by the state Public Service Commission (PSC). The rate of return on Delmarva Power’s electricity business has ranged between 7.41 percent and 7.53 percent over the last three years. The PSC sets and monitors the company’s return on investment.

Pepco Holdings is a publicly-traded company. To learn more about Delmarva Power you can visit the Pepco Holdings Web site at: http://www.pepcoholdings.com/about/. Information about the salaries of Delmarva Power executives, and how they compare with their peers, can be found in the 2006 Annual Report to Shareholders (pages 18 to 20) which is posted on the site. The 227-page report also contains a great deal of information on Delmarva Power’s business practices.

As a result of the Electric Utility Retail Customer Supply Act of 2006, Delmarva Power is required to sign a long-term contract to purchase electricity from a new local generation facility. On May 22, the PSC issued an order requiring Delmarva Power to enter into negotiations with BlueWater Wind, Pepco subsidiary Conectiv Energy and NRG Energy, to hammer out this contract.

Of the three potential suppliers, BlueWater Wind is best known in Sussex County because of the company’s popular proposal to generate power through the construction of an off-shore wind farm. Conectiv and NRG (the operator of the Indian River Power Plant) could figure into the final mix by providing back-up generation capacity to the wind turbines.

The Public Service Commission is precluded from being involved in these negotiations but has received periodic notice that the talks are ongoing.

On June 22, Delmarva Power filed a “notice of appeal” on the PSC decision. The company says they did this to preserve their right to pursue possible legal action to protect their customers. The company maintains that it intends to negotiate in good faith and that the filing was only a precautionary move. Only time will prove the veracity of these claims.

As a legislator who represents southeast Sussex County, I have a great deal of interest in the outcome of these talks. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that state lawmakers and regulators may need to take additional action to ensure that downstate residents have access to new sources of clean, affordable power and that existing producers are held to higher standards of environmental responsibility.

The General Assembly does not reconvene until January. I hope that Delmarva Power and the parties with which it is negotiating will use the intervening five months to good advantage and make significant progress in reaching a mutually beneficial deal.

Rep. Gerald Hocker

Healy offers praise for outgoing council

The election process in Bethany Beach is now officially under way, but not without a surprise or two. Lew Killmer and Wayne Fuller both decided not to stand for re-election.

I got to know Lew over the last year; he is a man of the utmost moral and ethical character who was always well prepared and brought these traits, as well as his deliberative manner, with him in his duties and responsibilities as a town council member.

Wayne Fuller has had a long successful history of public and community service to our town. I trust that both will be available for committee service, as well as comment and consultation on issues. We certainly owe them our thanks for their service, and when we see them around town, take a moment to pause and personally thank them.

The candidates all bring positive characteristics to the table:

• Carol Olmstead, the incumbent mayor, took over the position last year and did a very credible job.

• Bob Parsons has had, not unlike Wayne Fuller, a long tenure of successful and positive community service and involvement in our town.

• Margaret Young brings a sense of our town’s heritage through her involvement with the Historical and Cultural Affairs Committee.

• I, Joe Healy, have a skill set, financial background, that can augment in a positive fashion the town’s current as well as longer term financial goals and objectives. I, not unlike all of the above, have had a long history of community, professional and public service.

The above group, as well as the other four sitting members of council — Jerry, Tony, Tracy and Steve — have a respect for the collegiality that has been a cornerstone of our town council and leadership. This collegiality is one reason I look forward to the election process with the hope that I can have a direct, positive impact on our town.

I am told if I am to be elected, I must have your vote. So, I ask that you give my candidacy your due consideration. Now, in order for me to know your position on my candidacy:

May all those in favor find their road to heaven paved with gold and may all those against, twist their ankle so that we know them by their limp.

J.T. “Joe” Healy
Bethany Beach

Federal and military retirees need to speak

H.B. 97 is a bill introduced in the Delaware General Assembly by Rep. Gerald Hocker, with almost all House members and several senators as co-sponsors. The purpose of the bill is to provide tax equity for federal and military retirees in Delaware.

Currently, Social Security and railroad pensions are not taxed by the State of Delaware, but federal and military retirees are extended no consideration on their pensions, even though they contributed similarly. This bill passed the Revenue and Taxation Committee and is in the House Appropriations Committee, where it died in the last session.

Twenty-six states either do not tax federal annuities or have passed legislation to exclude them. Why hasn’t this bill been enacted into law or even brought to the House floor for a vote? The obvious answer is that too many of those that would be affected by the bill have not spoken out to their General Assembly representatives and senators.

If federal and military retirees want to be taxed on an equitable basis with Social Security retirees, they need to step up and contact their state senator and representative, and tell them that they want equal treatment provided by H.B. 97.

Walt Berwick, President
Delaware Federation of NARFE Chapters

Hocker’s Memory Walk Team issues thanks

The Alzheimer’s Memory Walk ’07 team of HOPE (Hocker Organized Proud Employees) for Alzheimer’s would like to thank everyone for their contribution to our successful Hot Dog/Bake Sale fundraiser on July 28 at Hocker’s Super Center. We were able to raise $530 toward our team goal of $2,000 that we hope to be able to reach to donate to this year’s Memory Walk. We guarantee all proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association through this event benefiting many in our community by the local programs currently offered in our area.

Thanks to the employees (G&E and Hocker’s) who gave of their time, baked goods and purchases to help in the event. This shows what can be accomplished when we work together as a team. Of course, we thank the community for the support and hope everyone enjoyed the food while knowing you were giving to such a good cause.

Please support our next planned fundraiser,

which will be a yard sale on Aug. 18 near Hocker’s. We ask for your continued support through these events, as well as our continued sales of “Forget-Me-Nots” at the registers of all stores.

Kim Blake and Ruth Ann Marvel
HOPE for Alzheimer’s Co-Captains

Addy: Young is a great Bethany candidate

It is refreshing to hear that Margaret Young, a Bethany Beach resident extraordinaire, will be running for one of the vacant town council seats in the upcoming Bethany Beach elections. Margaret championed the early years of the now-defunct Bethany Beach Historical Society and expansion of the town museum, which never got past the “exhibit” stage due to a low priority item on the “Towns’” agenda.

Outspoken and a lady of principle, she is exactly what the town needs to promote the safety concerns, preservation of the culture unique to the town and its citizens and a real interest in the local views on the future of Bethany Beach.

Margaret and I occasionally look back at the days when she worked as a young lady in the Seaside Inn and I was a busboy at Addy Sea. Though we undoubtedly passed each other on the boardwalk or bowled games next to each other, we didn’t really become friends until a few years ago, discussing the future of the museum. My mom (Martha Jean) would be championing Margarets’ decision, had she not passed away last year. Good luck Margaret! If the good citizens of Bethany Beach care about the future of their town, you will be the one to make the difference.

Bill Addy
Bethany Beach