Lisa presented Transmission Siting – How Should it work, and How Do We Succeed in Today’s World?? (wow! two question marks -- must be a real puzzler!) at an Edison Electric Institute meeting and must have thought she was a real Einstein because AEP had finally managed to get a transmission project online after SIXTEEN YEARS of opposition. Hey, Lisa, what's the sound of one hand clapping?
Okay, shall we get started? Page 2, Agenda, let's hear all about AEP's take on transmission siting as a barrier...
Now we're "a barrier"? I guess it's better than a NIMBY, NOPE or BANANA, but this money-grubbing corporation still fails to see what's really in their way -- PEOPLE! I guess it helps them to sleep at night if they can replace the wrecking of human lives with euphemisms like "barrier". Next up, developing and implementing a plan for siting, a relevant case study and results of an outreach strategy... that only took a short SIXTEEN YEAR course to sweet victory! Right...
Next slide, aren't we special? We're number 1! All others are number 2 or lower! Well, except for that Domestic Generation thing, but who's counting? Lisa, who cares? (?) See, that' a real puzzler too!
Slide four, AEP's vision of the next interstate! However, we've all seen this map before and when not looked at through myopic, rose-colored glasses with big dollar signs in the lenses, reality looks more like this.
Moving right along into the real "meat", Barriers to Transmission Development - The Three Horsemen! Three? She may be able to construct a sentence, but her literary and math skills leave a bit to be desired. The phrase is Four Horsemen (of the Apocalypse). How apt! However, I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, did you? She probably thought she was just being incredibly clever. Sigh.
Oh, look, reference to President Eisenhower's interstate highway system! Where have we heard that before? Oh, I remember, it was at the power company sponsored, ratepayer financed astroturf forum where they used President Eisenhower's granddaughter as an "expert" on the electric grid!
"Siting: How do we site needed transmission on an expedited basis to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is developed to support inevitable changes to our supply portfolio?" Oh, I see, it's not about needed transmission, it's about supporting your supply portfolio! Well, that's enough reason for me to endanger my health and give up my home for an unneeded transmission line -- AEP needs to support their supply portfolio and make even more money! Gosh, I love you, AEP! You're always thinking of me first!
Let's not forget the big problem of cost allocation! AEP doesn't want to have a 300 pond elephant (Lisa's got a mini-elephant) stinking up the place and impeding their cash flow. I know! Let's get the consumers to pay for our infrastructure! They won't mind! Well, sorry, Lisa, we do mind. We mind a great deal. You know that phrase, "you've gotta pay to play"? It applies to AEP, too.
Slide 6, Siting, a delicate but important balance... What? A few slides ago we were nothing but a "barrier", now we're delicate but important? Sorry to disappoint, but we're not really that delicate -- it's going to take a lot more effort to unbalance us than you originally thought. Setting yourself up with FERC backstop siting authority and changing the paradigm that caused you sixteen years of misery with Jackson's Ferry/Wyoming was slick, but it still remains untested and has been weakened in the courts. Back to the drawing board!
Let's move into the case study -- Jackson's Ferry/Wyoming. Even though you have "changed the siting paradigm" (who loves the word "paradigm"? Lisa loves that word "paradigm"! Hooray!) you still have to operate in the present "paradigm" system and it's not working for you. Time to choose a new favorite word!
Nifty map -- coal fired power plants, transmission lines and what's that green stuff? *scream* It's people! The Soylent Green of transmission line siting!
Now let's talk about Key Outreach Principles -- you know, those tactics that took sixteen years to work with Jackson's Ferry/Wyoming and that you are still trying to use with the PATH project 10 years later?
“Do the research” – don’t assume to know the issues and/or the scope of the public’s questions and/or concerns. Research is an ongoing – not one time – exercise. You know, stop being so damned arrogant and quit wasting your money on blowhards like Charles Ryan Associates who merely tell you what they think you want to hear then laugh at you behind your back because they're soaking you (really the ratepayers). You'll never know our issues because you can't think of us as people, just "barriers". So, keep exercising -- that running around in circles thing you do so well.
Develop a flexible plan – be strategic, proactive and consistent. Need to consider multiple issue areas. Yeah, and just keep trying to steer your Titanic around the constantly shifting opposition iceberg. You're just not built for it.
“Keep it simple” – honesty, transparency and a respectful attitude are critical. Credibility takes years to build and only seconds to lose, and once it’s gone........
It's already gone, baby, gone! Sorry, but your dishonest, abstruse and disrespectful attitude has prevented you from gaining any traction from day one... and instead of trying to right your image, you only debase yourselves further with slimier, more dishonest tactics.
Remember that people want information – if you’re not providing it, they will take it from where they can get it, including sources of propaganda. Unless it's YOUR propaganda -- people just laugh at that... until the bill comes! What people want is CREDIBLE information, such as that provided by other opposition members. See paragraph directly above.
Keep feedback loops open and flowing – transmission siting is a long process and continually incorporating feedback into the outreach strategy is critical. Feedback loops? Is that when I drive by your office and stick my middle finger out the window? We are well aware that you don't give a rat's behind what we think or feel as long as you can take our land from us. Before the ink is dry on the contract, you're nothing but a dust cloud. See also reference to Titanic above.
Let's talk concerns:
Concerns – personal property impacts, viewsheds, perceived lack of local benefit, wildlife, health, tourism
How about LACK OF NEED? It's always the last thing to cross your mind there, genius!
Media – preference TV, then papers
We know how to read! Nobody pays attention to the advertising during Dr. Phil!
Supporters – men, seniors, higher and lower income brackets
The only "supporters" PATH has are the ones in their gym lockers.
Opponents – women, younger, college educated
And everybody else, including politicians and the media.
Population – 25% didn’t complete hs, 42% hs grad, 15% percent college grad
Power company whose statistics only add up to 82% - 1. Where do you think you're building this thing? Some undeveloped third-world country? You just keep telling yourself that about us and pretending you're "smarter".
Average Household income - $21,000
Time for new stats! You've expanded into the Washington D.C. metro area this time, Mr. Magoo!
Perceptions – 2/3 viewed AEP favorably
We all hate you. Try to think of it as a challenge.
Now let's talk messages:
Power line is needed urgently and will deliver substantial local and regional benefits (Infrastructure drives economy, both near and longer term)
Hey there, little boy, you've yelled "wolf" so many times that nobody even hears you anymore. "Need" is a dinosaur left over from your last "urgent" project.
AEP treats people, environment with respect – important message, but must be supported through consistent action.
You mean like how Allegheny Energy treated (cheated) the landowners and destroyed the environment with the TrAIL project? That sure shows consistency -- you wrecked everything and everybody in your path like Godzilla on the way to Tokyo.
AEP demonstrated commitment to working with the public, regulators to solve the problem – input is key to the final product and stakeholders must feel vested in the outcome.
Oh, like hell you did! You stomped all over everything and everybody and what you couldn't buy you coerced. Have you ever considered that YOU are the problem that needs to be "solved"?
How about Execution Highlights? Is that where you execute the people who become the Soylent Green on your maps?
Established employee ambassadors, provided front line employees with information
You mean like those shifty land agents who would lie and steal the last slice of bread in our pantry? They are the perfect ambassadors for you though - a little "truth in advertising" for who they represent.
Coalition established, supporters – labor, business - were kept informed and were active
"Coalition" -- a power company directed PR tool that creates fake "grassroots" groups using huge amounts of ratepayer funding. Astroturf is no longer a cute parlor trick -- we all know what you're doing and nobody believes you. And it's about to get a lot worse for you.
Key audiences identified – elected officials, customers, shareholders, unions, media, public, supporters, employees, retirees, etc.
Just because you identify an audience, it doesn't guarantee that they will show up at your performance!
Tools – videos, presentations, fact sheets, brochures, direct mail, advertising, news releases, letters, project info line and web site
And you! You're the biggest bunch of tools I've ever encountered.
Tailored every message for every audience
This is not possible. No wonder you're such a failure.
Advertising – Consistent and frequent use of print/television partners included Wild Turkey Federation, Nature Conservancy, local industry, homeowners
Oh, I see you've already bought up the Wild Turkey Federation again for the PATH project. Looks like the Nature Conservancy hasn't fallen for the same trick again -- yet. Local industry will always sell out to the highest bidder, but nobody listens to them anyway, and you can forget about "homeowners" -- those are your victims, not your tools, remember?
Media – More than 200 stories a year in project area – consistency and frequency of message – remember; people have a need for information!
Yes, we remember. This is why we control our local media and have over 200 stories a year. In the tri-state, we even control your media events!
Establishment of web and phone based information and continual reminders of the availability of those services.
Remind us all you want. You're the last place we'd go for information or assistance.
I'm not going to copy and paste the next slide -- it just prattles along about public opinion during their sixteen year odyssey. Just the fact that it took them sixteen years to ramrod this thing through says it all. I'm willing to bet that even after more than 20 years, there are still plenty of folks who are angry about it down in Bluefield. Am I right?
Finally, the last slide shows photos from their dedication ceremony. Nevermind the text -- we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. The first photo shows super-rich AEP CEO Michael Morris either giving or receiving what looks like a landscape painting. Are those transmission towers on top of the mountain in the painting? Morris looks a bit perplexed, like he's thinking... "Those transmission towers were supposed to be painted in right down the middle of the road! Someone's in big trouble here!". The daisy chain of fawning politicians is a study in ridiculous expressions. Here's a game we can play -- in the comments you can tell me what you think each of them was thinking in the picture. Last thought about this photo -- is this painting going to be an addition to some bigwig's living room? The only addition us "barriers" have gotten to our own living rooms lately has been the intrusion of PATH right into the middle of the room where PATH squatted and left a nasty-smelling mess on the rug. How rude! We don't intrude into your living room, get the hell out of ours!
Second photo -- crowd shot. Looks like they had nasty weather. Even Mother Nature was crying that day. Looks like an awful lot of police presence at the back of the crowd for the few people sitting in the chairs. Did each attendee need their own personal protection? Speaks volumes.
So, I really don't have any other plans for the next 14 years. Guess I'll be seeing ya around, PATH!