Energy prices are falling. If you’ve filled up your tank recently, you know that the cost of gasoline has taken a tumble. Natural gas and coal are also cheaper than they were a year ago. That’s great news, but one type of energy is bucking the trend. The price of electricity — the energy we all depend on the most — continues to rise.
At first glance, the continuing climb in electricity prices seems baffling. After all, the coal and gas most commonly used to generate it are getting less expensive. To find the answer to the electricity price riddle, don’t look at energy markets. Look at Washington, D.C.
In recent years, the Obama administration has been pushing one regulation after another affecting electricity generation. Those regulations have forced utilities to make expensive changes to power plants and, in some cases, to shut down plants altogether.
Now, President Obama is planning the most ambitious new regulation of all. He has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require electric power generators to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions rates by up to 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Experts say that the costs involved in achieving that sweeping goal — new investment, new plants, new energy infrastructure — will certainly push power prices up even higher. The reliability of the electric power grid — already pushed to the edge — will also suffer. All this sacrifice will come for a drop in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions while global emissions continue to surge.
Indiana — which receives 87 percent of its electricity from coal plants — will be hit especially hard by the plan. According to recent economic analysis, the cost of electricity and natural gas in Indiana could rise by $20 billion by 2020. That’s a projected increase of $775 per household.
Unforgivably, the burden of these costs is going to fall disproportionately on those who can’t afford them. Folks on low or fixed incomes, like our seniors, will be hardest hit.
Many senior citizens are barely making ends meet on their fixed incomes. When the price of an absolute necessity like electricity goes up, they have to cut their spending elsewhere — sometimes on food, needed medications, or even heat. Choosing between staying warm or going hungry is a choice no one should have to make.
My organization, the 60 Plus Association, which represents 145,000 seniors in Indiana, recently polled Indiana residents 55 and older about their views on the nation’s energy future and the president’s emissions mandate. Seventy six percent of respondents expressed concern about regulatory action raising the cost of their energy bills and a strong majority said low energy prices should come before climate regulations.
President Obama power plan is a mistake. It’s a big, expensive regulatory plan that risks hurting people without even making a dent in the problem it’s supposed to address. That just doesn’t pass the Indiana common-sense test. Urge Gov. Mike Pence to say no to the EPA and the president. Affordable, reliable energy must come before a misguided climate crusade.
Jim Martin is chairman and founder of the 60 Plus Association.
See the article here.
- On April 11, 2015