Amazon Data Center Electrical Bills Are Secretly Funded by Taxpayers

cageymaru

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Amazon is negotiating secretive deals with state regulators to fund the building of new electrical grids that power the Amazon Web Services data centers and the rates that they pay. The agreed upon prices are considered "trade secrets" by the company, so even though state regulators are negotiating the deals; citizens aren't privy to the information on what rates are being charged. This has created an interesting situation in Virginia and other states as elected officials pass new taxes to shift the cost of upgrading electrical grids solely to taxpayers who still don't know what rate that the data centers are paying.

Power companies, like politicians, actively pursue Amazon. In that way, the company fits into a long U.S. tradition of shifting costs from businesses to poor residents, who already pay about three times more of their income on utility bills than do wealthy households, according to a 2016 ACEEE study. The difference these days is that data-center operators, unlike manufacturing plants, can't claim to be engines of job growth, says the ACEEE's Elliott. "When you attracted the steel mill years ago, you got 2,000 employees," he says. "When you attract a data center, you get maybe 50."
 

gathagan

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This is a law suit waiting to happen, given that someone with deep pockets is interested in litigation.
State regulators may be negotiating these deals, but most electric companies are declared monopoly utilities at the local level.
There are a lot of regulations with regard to transparency in that arena.
 

Poseur

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Whatever happened to being all green and going solar or whatever for everything? If they were their own power source, nobody would care at all.
 

Kinestron

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I hate to say nothing new but at least they are exposed now. It's like Diane Feinstein's husband here in California, who owns a construction company and gets sweet contracts on the bloated bullet train project. Or Paramount Farms(pistachios, POM Wonderful) that worked behind the scenes deals to take over a state water project while providing undrinkable water and horrible wages to their employees(from a Netflix documentary) and to top if off I doubt their water bill will go up once we are restricted to the 55 gallons/day even though 40% of their crops are exported.
 
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Dead Parrot

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Whatever happened to being all green and going solar or whatever for everything? If they were their own power source, nobody would care at all.
I think Google was the one crowing about being 100% renewable but it doesn't really matter. Unless the solar system/windmill/geothermal/etc is located on the site of the data center, the GRID still has to be updated to bring the power from wherever the magic green juice maker is to the data center. That can involve hundreds of miles of power lines which clutter up someone's back yard. Plus you have to account for those times when the magic green juice maker can't make juice. Darkness/calm winds/maintenance/etc. can take a generating system offline for hours or days. You would have world wide howls of anguish if folks lost contact with Prime during a green juice outage.
 

RealBeast

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Whatever happened to being all green and going solar or whatever for everything? If they were their own power source, nobody would care at all.
Amazon might "talk" about green energy, but apparently money is more important so they slip it to the taxpayers without even a little lube. :(
 

Gavv

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Amazon might "talk" about green energy, but apparently money is more important so they slip it to the taxpayers without even a little lube. :(
Sad thing is now that we know about it do we actually feel it? Or just ignore it because we are so loose from every other screwing?
 

Poseur

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I wouldn't know exactly how to word it, but they could force new businesses with high electrical loads and few employees to generate some percentage of renewable power on site.
 

jedijeb13

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I personally don't buy anything from Amazon just because I don't like to feed such large companies if I can avoid it.

If it is paid for with public funds, then Amazon has no right to keep it secret. If anyone files a FOIA request ( if there is an equivalent for State versus Federal information) then it will be difficult to continue to hide it.
 

illumined

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Whatever happened to being all green and going solar or whatever for everything? If they were their own power source, nobody would care at all.
Because "going green" and "going solar" entails siphoning even more tax money. There's huge federal and often state subsidies for all of them.
 
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Remember this the next time you complain about someone getting food stamps. Corporations suck billions of dollars out of taxpayer's pockets every year.
It's how you distract the common person from your crimes. Show them the even poorer person, and how much better you are than them. Provide something to make even the least educated slob think they are still better than "that" and they'll empty their pockets for you, no questions asked.
 

westrock2000

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a long U.S. tradition of shifting costs from businesses to poor residents, who already pay about three times more of their income on utility bills than do wealthy households
Gimme a fuckin break. Did you know McDonalds costs 6x more for poor people than upper class because the cost of a Big Mac is proportionately more of the poor persons income! Is there a situation where this argument WOULDN'T apply? Class warfare bullshit.
 

_l_

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Gimme a fuckin break. Did you know McDonalds costs 6x more for poor people than upper class because the cost of a Big Mac is proportionately more of the poor persons income! Is there a situation where this argument WOULDN'T apply? Class warfare bullshit.
You'll enjoy reading Luke 21:1-4 in the Holy Bible
 

BloodyIron

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Striking a deal? Okay.

Making the rate not visible to the public? When dealing with a government agency? Not okay.
 
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westrock2000

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You'll enjoy reading Luke 21:1-4 in the Holy Bible
Sure, but that passage was written for the target audience. If one considers that people become rich because they offer products and services that many people enrichen their own lives from than it seems puzzling to think that a vagabond "gives more" just because he has nothing.

The metaphor is to give hope to those who have none, not to literally say that poor people are what make the world become a better place to live in.
 

HockeyJon

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This is a law suit waiting to happen, given that someone with deep pockets is interested in litigation.
State regulators may be negotiating these deals, but most electric companies are declared monopoly utilities at the local level.
There are a lot of regulations with regard to transparency in that arena.
No there isn’t, because anyone with deep enough pockets is:

a) Not going to waste money fighting against someone else with deep pockets in court for little personal gain.

b) Likely running their own tax avoidance scheme.
 

Exavior

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I personally don't buy anything from Amazon just because I don't like to feed such large companies if I can avoid it.

If it is paid for with public funds, then Amazon has no right to keep it secret. If anyone files a FOIA request ( if there is an equivalent for State versus Federal information) then it will be difficult to continue to hide it.
They are making it sound like if you filed a request for information they would tell you to fuck off. Which as far as I am aware any type of deal like this should normally be public information. Didn't know it was that easy for a state or town to just say nope we aren't going to disclose deals.
 

sirmonkey1985

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This is a law suit waiting to happen, given that someone with deep pockets is interested in litigation.
State regulators may be negotiating these deals, but most electric companies are declared monopoly utilities at the local level.
There are a lot of regulations with regard to transparency in that arena.
doubtful, it's not an uncommon thing and people just like bashing amazon because it's easy though.. where i live we pretty much pay for comcasts data center/hub with tax dollars as well.
 

Grimlaking

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I still think this is tentamount to shady business. But... BUT... if a large compay came to me. Said we want to remodel your house and use a portion of it as a local Data Center to make our systems more stable. We will pay for the remodel, AND pay you a monthly rental of xxxx or xxxxx dollars a month to host it. Oh also during that time to be fair we will also pay for your home and a xx gigabit connection. Would you like to do this?

I would jump on it so fast my wife would think I was insane.

AND if you think about it... that might actually save some large companies like Amazon, a good bit of money on Data Center space. (It is incredibly expensive.).

I think I need to write an email...
 
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nimer

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I still think this is tentamount to shady business. But... BUT... if a large compay came to me. Said we want to remodel your house and use a portion of it as a local Data Center to make our systems more stable. We will pay for the remodel, AND pay you a monthly rental of xxxx or xxxxx dollars a month to host it. Oh also during that time to be fair we will also pay for your home and a xx gigabit connection. Would you like to do this?

I would jump on it so fast my wife would think I was insane.

AND if you think about it... that might actually save some large companies like Amazon, a good bit of money on Data Center space. (It is incredibly expensive.).

I think I need to write an email...
Do you get access to the false floor air con? or is that restricted access?
 

kju1

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And now I am glad I am turning down that offer from Amazon...shit benefits anyway.
 

Drakeniir

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Whatever happened to being all green and going solar or whatever for everything? If they were their own power source, nobody would care at all.

As someone who once built and maintained datacenters - LOL SOLAR. seriously, it just isn't reliable enough. you have batteries for back-up. but when your main power source is those batteries, then what? generator? sure.. that's environmentally friendly.. or the kyoto wheel, sounds awesome.. but everything in motion must come to a stop eventually.

Solar is way more expensive initially than grid power, especially when you're talking about the massive amount of panels you'd need to just provide semi-reliable power to even a modestly sized data center. Then you have extra maintenance and upkeep of those panels, and you probably need twice as many panels as you actually need to cover for failures, or freak conditions. if you're on the power grid, you're paying the electrical company to do all that, and if they don't, you have a contract with which to sue their asses for lost profits. On the grid, you just need batteries to keep your stuff running long enough for the generator to kick in and then you just need a back-up generator. sure, they might cost half a million each depending on the size of your data center, but that is a minor cost compared to a properly sized and redundant solar grid.

Also, with solar, you really have to concern yourself over batteries much more. Lead acid is still king when it comes to price over amp-hours. those need to be replaced, which means you need to replace each string of series connected batteries all at the same time. during that time you're at lower capacity. and generally, people don't like paying for redundancy, so if you're lucky you actually have enough capacity to do a proper replacement without shutting the whole place down, and as soon as you turn that power switch off, those dollar signs from lost productivity start just piling up in the dumpster.
 

DocNo

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The amount of power data centers require is pretty staggering. Two new AWS data centers went in near me an they had to run four new high voltage sets to them - pretty substantial stuff. I'm in Northern VA which is quickly becoming a huge data center area - at least 10 pretty substantial data centers have gone in within 5 miles of my house and I don't know how to count all the ones in the Ashburn area closer to Dulles airport. I dunno where they are getting all the power from but Dominion electric is winning on their plans to run more lines. This isn't even the Amazon data centers near me - it's another one.
 

obs

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Buy in bulk, you get a discount. Not all that surprising. If you want to know the rates they pay that's on the government negotiators, not Amazon.
 
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Gimme a fuckin break. Did you know McDonalds costs 6x more for poor people than upper class because the cost of a Big Mac is proportionately more of the poor persons income! Is there a situation where this argument WOULDN'T apply? Class warfare bullshit.
The class war is over dude. The rich people won.
 

PaulP

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The PUC in most states are nearly unaccountable and quite opaque. It's unlikely we will ever see the details of these deals. But you can thank your state politicians because they ultimately pull the strings of the PUC.
 

katanaD

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dont know why all the hate at amazon..


its the State Legislators that are allowing this to happen.

be pissed at them
 

sparks

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We are not told anything here and asking is like talking to a door.

We have a Public Service Commission....funny the PSC takes up half the first floor of the electric company offices.
Everything from electricity, gas, and cable tv are taken care of by them. Who takes care of who? Who gets paid what and when?
We had to pay for half another states failed nucler reactor because of a contract written by the electric co and approved by the psc.

Have they ever denied a rate increase,,,,NO
have they ever said maybe comcast should not be monopoly....NO

Let me check if someone is getting a deal like this amazon stuff.
The power co says talk to the psc....the psc says HUH...what?

What good are they?
 
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