November 5 2012

Consumers are Unwilling to Pay Much More in Electricity Costs

Emily Wismer

The War on Coal – which is destined to continue if Obama is re-elected – is destined to raise electricity prices for Americans, but will consumers tolerate paying more on utilities?

According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, the answer is no. Recent numbers indicate only one in five Americans are willing to pay 50 percent or more on electricity bills in order to fight global warming, despite 61 percent of respondents saying global warming is occurring.

How will this latest poll impact the White House? The Environmental Protection Agency is implementing a set of regulations, known as Utility MACT, that are part of Obama’s promise to put new coal plants out of business.

The rule requires coal fueled electricity plants to install certain emissions controls by 2015, and come at great costs to consumers.

The EPA estimates this rule will cost $9.5 billion in 2015, but according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the annual cost is expected to be $10.4 billion in 2015; total compliance costs up to $94.8 billion; peak job losses of 180,000 to 215,000 in 2015; and up to 23,000 mega watt of coal plant retirements by 2015.“

The Institute for Energy Research reports the rule will eliminate nearly 10 percent of the U.S. coal energy capacity. Because coal makes up 42 percent of net electricity generation in the U.S. (followed by natural gas at only 25 percent), the regulation is expected to cause a spike in electricity prices.

How much will electricity prices spike? While estimates vary, Chicago may serve as a good case study. According to IER, “Chicago area electricity bills  [are] to go up $107-178 per year and raise annual costs for Chicago Public Schools by $2.7 million, $3.3 million for the Metropolitan Water District, and $5.4 million for Chicago’s city government."

While most Americans are concerned about the environment, the rule’s price tag may be too steep.

Americans know times are tight, and excessive regulations threaten to spike the costs of energy, and thus the expense of all activity, be it manufacturing or making your family’s meals. The EPA’s overreach not only kills jobs, but places a bigger strain on family’s bills, which women tend to process.

 

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