Amazon has taken heat for the use of taxpayers ‘ money for its own gains, is an attempt to make the cost of the power supply of the huge data centers to consumers in the form of higher energy costs.
According to Bloomberg, Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy, recently negotiated with the state legislature to cover the costs of running a power line underground to connect to one of the tech firm’s subsidiaries—to the tune of $172 million consumers in the form of a still unannounced monthly fee.
Rosie Thomas, 87, who already struggles to pay its monthly $170 electric bill, said: “Lord, have mercy” when she heard of the new fee.
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Amazon Web Services, the company is highly profitable, cloud computing, business, running the websites and services for a wide range of companies such as Verizon, Major League Baseball and Comcast, revenue grew 49 percent in the second quarter to $6.11 billion.
However, that is a large amount of upfront infrastructure costs to operate dozens of data centers, the massive server companies around-the-clock.
State lawmakers have consistently court Amazon, regardless of how many jobs are data centers generate. The company is one of the countless AMERICAN businesses to take advantage of the possible tax incentives and the existing laws to lower the cost. Amazon Web Services also has a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy for its global infrastructure.
In at least two member states, Bloomberg, Amazon has negotiated with utilities and legislators to force the residents to pay the electric bills—on top of the estimated $1.2 billion in state and municipal tax incentives Jeff Bezos’ company has received in the past decade.
Although Amazon is not the only company to benefit from the energy industry is the hunger for new customers, as the biggest player in cloud computing, has the largest footprint.
In Ohio, the company opened three data centers in 2016 that are currently active with electric rates that are hidden to the public. As reported by Bloomberg, only five representatives on a public utility commission, together with Amazon and American Electric Power (AEP), to know how much is paid for a public service.
At the end of last year, Amazon offered to open 12 more data centers and AEP exempt from the charges that other customers pay.
“That is a de facto cost-shifting,” Ned Hill, an economist who teaches at the Ohio State University, said Bloomberg.
Servers are to see in a data center.
(Global Access Point, via Wikimedia Commons)
Amazon has claimed that the discount is a trade secret and should be edited in all requests for public records.
“Price reductions are treated as trade secrets by the utility companies. Baloney,” says Hill. “All should be made public and made in advance of an action.”
In Virginia, Amazon’s Vadata Inc. reportedly has 29 data centers. The tech giant’s 78-page application for a special rate agreement has two versions: one that is heavily edited for the audience and one under the seal, with the provincial supervisors.
The idea of companies shifting the costs for residents with a lower income is not new.
A range of companies rewarded from the AMERICAN taxpayer for locating their business in certain member states, including Tesla ($1.3 billion from Nevada for a battery factory), Foxconn ($4.8 billion for a screen-plant) and Apple ($214 million for a data center in Iowa).
According to a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an environmental lobbying group with a lower income Americans already pay about three times more of their income on utility bills than wealthier households.
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However, in contrast to when an Amazon warehouse, which can make use of a few thousand inhabitants, data centers, no fuel significant job growth.
“When you pulled the steel mill years ago, you have 2,000 employees. When you attract a data center, you might get to 50,” Hill told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, in Thomas’ Virginia neighborhood, most residents are elderly and living on a fixed income; they have already seen that the increased energy costs by 30 percent over the last ten years.
“Amazon has all the money they ever need,” she said. “They don’t need any more.”
Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for FoxNews.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.