Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Some Facts and Thoughts about the EPEC Rate Case

Some facts and thoughts:

The El Paso rate case comes in around 8,000 pages. Guess EPEC started this as soon as they didn't get everything that they wanted a year ago.

El Paso electric rates are the most expensive in the state of Texas. (Thought you should know.)

Why do we have high rates since 50% of our electricity comes from the Palo Duro nuclear power plant? Nuclear power is the most inexpensive means to generate electricity - second only to hydroelectric.

The last rate case cost rate payers $3.5M. EPEC's attorney fees and the City of El Paso's attorney fees are paid for through your electric bill. This means that there is no disincentive for EPEC to file case after case. 

Although commendable, EPEC's new solar program is really an oversell. An electron is an electron is an electron. It doesn't matter where or how electricity is generated. Those electrons just flow down the same wires. If you signed up for their program, you are paying for their new solar power plant is all.

I do not begrudge anyone her/his salary. Ms. Kipp is compensated below what other CEOs make - sexism perhaps? Still she makes just less than $1M per year. EPEC Board members make about 9X what I do as a City Council rep. (I make $29,000/year) These people are smart, financially savvy people. The cream of the crop. But really?

Finally, all of this rate business is really evidence of the dying throes of the electric utility business. Once batteries are manufactured that are affordable and capable of holding the necessary charge, each unit (home, business, school, etc.) will put up the solar panels, attach the batteries and disconnect from the electric company's grid. 5 years to such battery technology?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Facts Not Ads"

Public Facts Not Ads by on Scribd
Currently (pun intended) the El Paso Electric Company, which has the highest rates of any city in Texas, has filed a rate case for a rate hike. EPEC also intends to continue its efforts to undermine the solar rooftop industry in El Paso. The slide show above was created by Blanca Gadney-Moss, a professional counselor in El Paso, and a strong advocate for solar power. She is a member of Eco-El Paso and the Regional Renewable Energy Advisory Committee. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Begins with the Poppy Fest

Click image to enlarge.

Dear Friends:
Poppies Fest this Saturday, April 1 – Make Plans to Attend! – Free Parking & Shuttle at Cohen Stadium
Poppy Fest 2017 Returns to El Paso - 11th annual event held at El Paso Museum of Archaeology
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology and the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition invite the public to the annual Poppy Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.
Spring in the Franklin Mountains means the desert landscape is blanketed by a field of golden yellow Mexican poppies and the free 11th annual event celebrates El Paso's annual bloom. Enjoy live music, art vendors, educational exhibits, children's activities, nature tours, food vendors, and more!
The Museum of Archaeology will host live archery demonstrations, and Houdini, the hawk from the El Paso Zoo, and a live wolf from the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary near Albuquerque will also be at the festival. The museum features 14,000 years of prehistory in El Paso, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico.
"The Poppy Fest provides the community with opportunities to learn about conservation and our environment while taking advantage of the natural beauty of El Paso's Franklin Mountains," said Director of the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, Jeff Romney.
In addition, the Downtown Art and Farmers Market will move to the museum grounds for the Poppy Festival. The Anthony Street location will be closed so market vendors can participate in the Poppy Fest.
Free parking for the Poppy Fest will be at Cohen Stadium and shuttle buses will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Poppy Fest is presented by the El Paso Museum of Archaeology in partnership with the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, National Border Patrol Museum, and Downtown Artist and Farmers Market.
For more information on the Poppy Fest, call the El Paso Museum of Archaeology at (915) 755-4332 or visit
Marilyn Guida

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Celebration of Our Mountains Earth Month Events

Click on image to enlarge.

In conjunction with the City of El Paso's Earth Month events, Celebration of Our Mountains is hosting six events in April. Visit for more information including directions to each event.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Defense and Interior Departments Commit to Castner

The following was published as an op-ed piece by Dr. Richard Teschner in the El Paso Times. Richard Teschner, a retired UTEP linguistics professor, has been working since 2003 to conserve El Paso land, including Castner Range.

Thanks to the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior for signing a letter of joint commitment to the community of El Paso. This letter goes a long way toward advancing the process to conserve El Paso’s Castner Range in perpetuity.

Since November of 2015, we’ve been putting forth a very full-court press, working to show the nation—especially the departments of Defense and Interior as well as former President Obama—the value of the Castner Range and why it should be conserved.

Those of us who have lived in El Paso for 50 years or more are fully aware that the Franklin Mountains (of which Castner is a part) have long been the objects of development; as the landscape changes value, mountain land is being lost.

The fact that Castner Range is close to and owned by Fort Bliss, and that the land is in an urban setting, has always brought demands for development as opposed to open-space preservation.

This is why this joint commitment by the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior to the El Paso community is so important in our decades-long campaign to conserve the range in perpetuity.

We hear from other major urban areas that they wish they had never developed their scenic lands, keeping them open for hiking, recreational opportunities and unbroken views.

Thanks to our campaign to conserve Castneer Range (a campaign that became especially intense these last 16 months, with over 35,000 El Pasoans signing letters of support), El Paso is now fully aware that the range’s historic and cultural treasures are irreplaceable.

The uniqueness of the ecosystem, the connectivity to the state park and the alluvial fans all make this a very special and unique part of our Chihuahuan desert and its mountains.

We are especially thankful that the joint Defense/Interior commitment, prepared by Congressman Beto O’Rourke, has made it clear that the Army will now investigate the feasibility of designating portions of Castner Range for varying levels of public access.

Allowing access to certain areas—especially at the range’s higher elevations—will promote eco-tourism and enhance El Paso’s economy. The phasing-in of public-access parcels will begin once the Army has completed its required process.

In sum, the joint letter makes it clear that it will be many years before we are absolutely certain that the range will be left open and natural, ideally as a national monument. But at least this commitment now exists, and it points out the path that lies ahead.

We, the El Paso Community, will continue to actively monitor the process. One of many ways we can do so is to attend all Army meetings to ensure that the partnership continues.

The next one, the Restoration Advisory Board, is Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1005 of the El Paso Community College Transmountain campus, just across U.S. 54 from Castner Range.

All El Pasoans will want to thank these two federal departments for committing, for the first time, to play an active role in the future of Castner Range.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Repurpose and Upscale: I'm on Overwhelm


The first rule in "recycling" is not to buy the product in the first place. You reduce what you want or think you need. The next thing is to reuse before you recylce. Reusing can mean repurposing or upcycling. Repurposing means adapting anything for a different use - an old ladder into a book shelf, pottery shards as garden plant identifiers. Upcycling is reusing a product in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original - an old television or radio console into a wet bar, turning the old Pearl brewery into San Antonio to the upscale Emma Hotel . . . or turning some old historical buildings in El Paso to apartments and commercial properties.

OK. You aren't going to go into the business of development and some of the repurposing or upcycling ideas are just not what you have in mind for your Charlotte's decor. You might just not be into arts and crafts. However, I bet there are so many things that you can upcycle or repurpose. You don't even have to be the creative type. Just Google "upcycle" or "upcycling" and "repurpose" or "repurposing". Visit sites. Click on the Images tab. You'll get a number of ideas.

Be sure to visit Instructables. Check out Upcycle That on Facebook. Of course there is also Pinterest with tens of thousands of ideas.

Repurposing or upcycling are ways we can make some lifestyle changes that are enviornmentally-friendly.