CEO Letter To The Editor: EPA Regulations Could Spell Higher Rates

Jan. 20, 2014

I am concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposals and their potential impact on the rates you pay for electricity.  I hope all TCEC members will stand with me and submit comments to the EPA today during the 60-day comment period.

I am disappointed—but not surprised—the Administration officially abandoned an all-of-the-above energy strategy for a new, all-but-one approach which effectively removes coal from the nation’s fuel mix in the future. We need to balance energy needs with environmental concerns.

The proposed policy sets stringent limits on carbon dioxide emissions from future coal or natural gas plants. Trouble is, the new standards are impossible to meet with existing technology.

For several years cooperatives have tested carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t make financial sense.

CCS has never been used at a power plant over a prolonged period to demonstrate its viability or cost. In a 2012 Congressional Budget Office report, engineers estimate it would increase the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants by 75 percent. Eventually that cost would be passed on to electric rate payers like you and me. We all face tough choices in trying to live on a budget.

What can you do as a member of TCEC? Stand with me as we contact the EPA and tell them to remember consumers as they issue regulations. Raise your voice through the Cooperative Action Network at www.action.coop, or fill out the paper form inserted in your February electric bill and return it to our office with your payment.

TCEC members are a small part of the larger 42 million cooperative members nationwide, together we can make a difference.

Jack L. Perkins, CEO
TCEC