Rally Outside Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting Highlights Multi-State, Anti-Consumer Energy Policy

Energy Customers Concerned that Buffett Successor Greg Abel has written the Berkshire Energy Playbook

OMAHA, Neb., May 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Outside of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting today, nonprofit organizations hosted a rally to raise awareness about the anti-consumer policies of the company’s energy division. The energy utilities run by Berkshire, unlike other companies in the Berkshire portfolio, have complete monopolies over their service territory. 

Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns and operates utilities serving 11 states across the U.S., including PacifiCorp (Western U.S.), MidAmerican Energy (Iowa), and NV Energy (Nevada). Operating one of the largest fleets of coal plants in the nation, Iowa and Nebraska residents have borne the health and financial costs of their polluting facilities. Two large coal units operated by Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy Company in Council Bluffs, IA loom across the river from Omaha. Coal ash from these plants, including the Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center in Council Bluffs, has been found to leak toxic levels of arsenic, lithium, boron and more into nearby groundwater.

Over the past few years, these utilities have pushed  anti-consumer policies in the states where they operate, including efforts to roll back energy efficiency programs, attempts to kill net metering for distributed solar energy customers, and more.

“Rocky Mountain Power (PacifiCorp) recently ramped up its assault on renewables. RMP pulled out of its Community Renewable Energy Program agreement with 18 Utah cities/counties pledged to 100% net-zero by 2030,” said Stan Holmes, Utah Sierra Club volunteer leader. “This on the heels of its other moves to forego renewables in favor of fossil fuel-fired energy generation.”

“MidAmerican’s anti-consumer lobbying in Iowa has left the state with some of the highest energy burden in the country,” said Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director at the Iowa Environmental Council. “From leading the charge to gut energy efficiency programs, killing efforts to require utilities to consider the cost of new generation, and proposing to dump coal ash leachate into the Missouri River, MidAmerican constantly demonstrates that their profits are more important than their customers.”

“Nevada Energy, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, is interfering with Nevadans who want to install solar panels on their own homes or in their own communities. Because of this anti-consumer activity by Berkshire Hathaway, we are going to see more climate chaos and higher electricity rates,” said Cathy Fulkerson, Co-facilitator Third Act Nevada.

Greg Abel, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has been named as Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffet’s successor. 

Greg Abel has written the playbook for Berkshire’s anti-consumer energy policy that has negatively impacted countless energy customers in states all across the U.S.” said Steve Guyer, Energy Policy Counsel, Iowa Environmental Council. “It’s time to rewrite the playbook and put consumers first. Berkshire shareholders should be concerned about the future of the company with a new leader that has a track record of anti-free market and monopolistic decision making.”

“In Nevada, consumers can’t afford to keep up with NV Energy’s rate increases,” said Maria Prentice, promotora with Chispa Nevada. “Instead of investing in clean, solar energy, NV Energy is building new dirty gas plants that will pollute our air and make electricity prices more unpredictable. Nevada families are demanding that Berkshire Hathaway and its corporate utilities put people and planet over profit.”

At a time when wind and solar are the lowest cost sources of new energy generation, Berkshire Hathaway operates one of the largest fleets of coal plants in the nation. According to the “Benchmarking Air Emissions” report, Berkshire Hathaway Energy had the fourth-highest CO2 emission among electric power producers in the U.S. while generating the ninth-most electricity

The Clean Up MidAm campaign is a coalition of organizations, including the Iowa Environmental Council, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, the Sierra Club, Moms Clean Air Force, Action for the Climate Emergency, Great Plains Action Society and countless Iowans who care about our future. Learn more at www.cleanupmidam.com.

The Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) is the state’s largest and most comprehensive environmental alliance, comprised of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa’s natural environment. Through education, advocacy and coalition building, the Council raises awareness, generates action, and creates large-scale change. We work on federal, state, and local public policy issues to ensure a just, healthy environment and sustainable future for all Iowans. Learn more at iaenvironment.org.

Chispa Nevada is a program of the League of Conservation Voters that builds the power of Latinx communities to fight for climate justice and our democracy. Visit us at https://chispalcv.org/state/nevada for more information.

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SOURCE Iowa Environmental Council

Rally Outside Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting Highlights Multi-State, Anti-Consumer Energy Policy WeeklyReviewer

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